Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Four Fitness Benefits of Yoga

GettyImages-658599068You might have heard that yoga is great for flexibility and a great opportunity to meditate. Beyond those benefits, there is much more to yoga than one might think. As a yogi myself, I have been consistently practicing this exercise for 9 months and have seen great changes in my mental health as well as physical changes. This form of exercise challenges me to tap into my inner strength and capabilities each time I step onto my mat. This practice pushes me to become the best version of myself, both physically and mentally.

Practicing yoga is great for overall mental and physical health, and when you practice it consistently, it is easy to see those changes not just in your physical capabilities, but also your mental awareness. Science and research show how yoga improves health, heals our muscles, and relieves joint aches and pains. Let’s dive into some of the benefits that yoga offers to someone who incorporates this practice into their life.

Increases Strength

Yoga is a great form of exercise for strengthening and building muscle, as well as increasing endurance. Yoga increases whole-body strength, but especially in areas we tend to neglect, like the core, lower back, and glute areas. When these areas of our body are strong, it protects us from injury and pain.

Improves Posture

Sitting at a desk all day and having a career that might put a strain on your neck and back can cause poor posture. Different yoga poses may reverse the effects that day-to-day activities may have on our bodies.

Relaxes Your System

Yoga encourages slow breathing and relaxation, all while focusing on the present. As our system slows down, the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the “rest and digest” system, turns on. This decreases blood pressure while increasing blood flow to all the major organs in our bodies. In addition to yoga encouraging your body to relax, it can also ease the mind, slowing down daily stressors, fear, and worries. In time when you practice shutting off your racing mind, you are more likely to live a healthier and longer life.

Regulates Your Adrenal Glands

Yoga is known to lower cortisol levels. When a person has too much cortisol in their body, it may affect memory, cause depression, worsen osteoporosis, and cause high blood pressure. When cortisol levels spike up, people crave foods when they are angry, tired, stressed, or upset. This causes an increase in the amount of calories people consume, as well as weight gain.

Local to Indianapolis? NIFS offers yoga as a group fitness class. Read this blog to learn more about choosing the right class, see the Group Fitness Schedule for times, and join us for a workout that brings many physical and mental benefits.

 

Topics: yoga posture group fitness strength

3 Tips for Improving Posture for Employee Health

Most of us spend the majority of our lives working and commuting to work. In our spare time we also enjoy activities such as reading, watching television, and spending time with our loved ones. What do most of these activities have in common throughout our lifetime? Sitting!

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The Toll Sitting Takes on Your Health

A large portion of life as an employee requires extended periods of time seated in a chair, driving to work, and spending time with loved ones sitting at the dining room table. As we age, being in the seated position can have negative effects on our posture, which will also have a negative effect on our health.

As human beings we are structured to walk, run, and swim (if you learned) to accomplish tasks on a daily basis. We used to hunt, forage, farm our own food, and use our own feet when traveling from one location to another. This strengthened the muscles we needed when growing up and maintained our muscles as we aged. In our modern society, most professional careers have become sedentary and require less physical activity to get the job done.

Aging Well with Better Posture

One of the most apparent characteristics our body shows as we age is our posture. We remember the days in our youth when we stood tall, our shoulders were back, and we were probably a few inches taller. As we age, we and our loved ones begin to notice a change in posture in most individuals who had a sedentary profession. Even though some individuals remained active with a sedentary profession, other might not have taken the right steps to ensure good posture during the senior years, when it matters most.

The old saying is practice makes perfect; the new saying is perfect practice makes perfect! Even as many of us stay active, we are not performing the right exercises to maintain posture. Older individuals must perform the correct exercises to improve and maintain a healthy posture.

Tips for Improving Posture

Here are three tips for improving posture that you can use right away.

  • Stretch often, and stretch the right muscles! Muscles that become tight from working most desk jobs and commuting in vehicles are our chest muscles, neck muscles, and leg muscles. Being hunched over for several hours a day contributes to muscle tightness in these areas. Bringing your arms out to the side and stretching your chest four to five times a day can stretch the affected chest muscle. Learning how to stretch the leg muscles (quadriceps and hamstrings) in both the seated and standing position will give you more flexibility and prevent poor posture as you age. Neck muscles become tight from staring at computer screens, sitting at desks and carrying stress from demanding jobs. Learn stretches that loosen the neck and take the weight off of your shoulders.
  • Stand up every 30 minutes throughout the workday. Many of us get focused on our work and forget to stay active throughout the day. Standing up will stretch tight muscles, increase blood circulation, and give you a mental break before continuing the rest of your work.
  • Strengthen the muscles that improve and maintain your posture. Muscles that support an upright posture need to be activated and stimulated to maintain their strength and endurance throughout a lifetime. Many of these muscles are weak and inactive during working hours, which can lead to being inactive for lifetime. Strength training exercises focusing on posture include TheraBand rows, hip extensions, and lateral shoulder raises, which have been shown to maintain correct posture in senior populations.

Looking for a simple program you can implement that will help your employees move more and improve their posture?  Download our ebook at the link below.

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Topics: employee health posture sitting

Senior Fitness: Importance of good posture

senior woman at computerGood posture is as important as eating right or having a good exercise routine. When you have good posture your body will work the way it is supposed to, keeping your muscles balanced and working together will also help prevent injuries. Poor posture can be caused by many different activities, one of them being that a person has overcompensated from an injury or fall. As society continues to be in sedentary positions and behind a computer these problems are going to continue. Excessive weight and careless standing, sitting or sleeping habits will also lead to poor posture.

For seniors, decreases in physical activity as we age can be the primary culprit of poor posture. Sometimes these decreases in physical activity are a result of a diagnosis of a chronic health condition such as arthritis or neuromuscular conditions. The key is not to stop exercising when chronic health conditions arise, but to use exercise to help maintain posture and manage the symptoms of such conditions. When posture is out of alignment, it can increase an older adult’s susceptibility to falls.

There are a few things that you can do to help improve posture:

  1. Individuals need to make sure that they are in a healthy weight zone for their body type.
  2. Participate in a balanced exercise program that includes cardio, strength, and flexibility training. Classes such as Pilates or yoga are great ways to focus on strengthening and improving flexibility in the core muscles which support posture.
  3. Be aware of what chairs you have in your work space, as well as your home.

Use it or lose it - as we age, our muscles will get shorter and weaker if we are not using them. Poor posture can lead to head aches as well as back and neck pain. For more information on the importance of posture or activities you can do to help correct your posture please speak to fitness professionals or your doctor.

Topics: senior wellness programs senior fitness fall prevention posture