By keekee lee What is yoga and how do you get started with it? How do you choose from so…
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The importance of posture, fluidity of motion, flexibility and balance are undeniable in terms of aging gracefully.
We believe that the swift and the strong don’t have a corner on happiness, and hope you will take time to find the value in these milder forms of exercise. Don’t kid yourself that they are not strenuous, but they build a strength that is more evident in the grace of movement, more like a dancer than the sinew and bones look of the marathoner or the bulging bulk of a power lifter.
Yoga developed over centuries in ancient times primarily in India. It has a religious or spiritual basis, but has been adapted in western culture primarily as a form of exercise to promote tranquility and lower stress, while enhancing flexibility and reducing pain. A much more complete discussion is available at Wikipedia.
The ancient Asian Martial Arts forms bring in the moves of combat in which the elements of speed and precise movement foster improvements in balance and reaction times. The milder forms such as Tai-Chi are highly suitable to this cause of senior fitness. Full contact martial arts are truly for the young and shortsighted! As seniors, it is imperative that we control the risk of injury and chose safe, well regulated activities that won’t break our bones and tear our ligaments and tendons; those injuries invariably come back to cause pain and limitations to mobility in the long term – be smart about the risks, whatever sports and activities you pursue. (says your author who broke his T-12 vertebra attempting a 525 lb deadlift at 72)
My approach to stretching is to incorporate it as a part of my gym workouts. Basically, I do a 30 second stretch with the muscle groups I just worked following every set. The axiom regarding not stretching cold muscle seems right to me – I do a mild, easily tolerated warm-up set for any particular muscle group like, for instance, the pectoral – deltoid combination used in bench press, followed by a specific stretch posture for that muscle set. I apply the stretch incrementally, increasing the extension/tension as the muscles will tolerate without major discomfort.