From easing general aches and pains that come with getting older to help you complete daily tasks more easily, being mobile is extremely important as you age. But the loss of mobility is pretty common among older adults. That’s because as people become less active in older age, their joints become weaker and they lose mobility.
The good news is there are ways you can improve your mobility — and incorporating some easy yoga moves into your weekly routine is a good place to start. In fact, several studies have found that yoga can help older adults maintain their mobility and independence — it can even prevent falls!
So, with the help of leading wellness app Mindbody and Kate Kendall, director of Yoga at Flow Athletic, here are five yoga moves you should try at home.
However, we’d recommend speaking with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing injuries or health concerns that may impact your ability to train.
According to Kendall, this yoga move is great for stretching the inner thighs, chest and shoulders. To get started, simply kneel on the floor and place your hands out in front of you. Then, spread your knees (a little wider than your hips) while bringing your big toes to touch.
“Take a generous breath in to lengthen from the tailbone to the crown of your head and as you exhale extend your hands forward and rest your forehead into the ground,” Kendall explains.
Kendall says this yoga move is great for stretching the whole backline of the body, including the spine, lower back hamstrings and calves.
To get started, Kendall says to sit on the floor with your legs out in front, adding there are two ways of doing this yoga move. If you have no back issues, she recommends opting for version one. To do this, inhale and lift your arms right up above your head, then as you exhale extend your torso forward. Rest your hands on your shins or feet. Kendall recommends holding this move for up to two to five minutes.
The second way to do this is to bend your knees and drape your torso over your legs. Place your hands on either side of your shins or feet.
Before you get started, Kendall recommends lying on the ground and hugging your knees into your chest.
“[This will] provide a little release for your lower back after the previous move,” she says.
Once you’ve done this, straighten out your left leg. Then take your left hand to the outer edge of your right knee and extend. At the same time extend your right arm out at shoulder height. Take a generous breath in and as you exhale take your right knee over to the left side.
“As long as you can keep your right shoulder grounded you can take that right knee to the ground,” she says, advising to hold the pose for five minutes before switching sides.
Kendall says this yoga move is great for relieving back tension. To get started, simply lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor. Place your arms by your side. As you inhale, lift your hips up off the ground. Take your block (a stack of books works well too!) and slide them under your hips. Kendall says to hold this move for as long as it feels comfortable.
Kendalls says this yoga move is great for stretching out the lower back and hamstrings. To get started, scoot your bottom into the wall and take your legs up the wall while placing your hands by your side, palms facing up.
“If there’s any tension in the lower back, place some support underneath it like a blanket, cushion or bolster,” she says. “If you’re doing this as a stand-alone [move], stay for five to ten minutes [or] if within the sequence, stay for as much time as you have.”