Longevity or human life expectancy is known to be influenced broadly by genetics, the environment, and lifestyle. The lifestyle itself is a major controllable factor, if managed well can directly impact our lifespan as well as healthspan. The factors of one’s lifestyle that contribute to longevity are regular physical activity, a healthy diet, a healthy BMI (body mass index), and avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption, resulting in additive gains that continue to accrue over time.
That said, Yoga, India's gift to the world, has been practiced for thousands of years being the globe's earliest healing system and lifestyle hack, if included as part of one’s daily routine will definitely help one age healthily. Multiple studies suggest that regular practice of yoga improves cellular ageing, mobility, balance, mental health, and the prevention of cognitive decline in older persons, all of which are areas of concern in ageing.
If you have never tried yoga before, here are some health secrets and advantages of yoga, to convince you! Take a look.
Yoga Improves Heart Health
Even though your body is at rest, your heart continues to beat and how quickly it beats indicates the health of your heart - how relaxed you are or whether your body is working overtime. If your heart can’t reach a normal rate of 60-100 beats per minute, it may wreak havoc on your body. Yoga has been found to assist your body in returning to its natural state of balance when practiced on a regular basis.
Yoga Fulfills Your Oxygen Need
Yoga helps your lungs to perform more effectively over time. Since yoga includes several breathing exercises, it increases oxygen intake essential for your organs, especially the heart. Yoga also helps prevent age-related brain degeneration by providing oxygen and nutrients that help brain cells rebuild. This slows the onset of dementia and disorders like Alzheimer’s.
Yoga Can Build Muscle
Our body needs extra muscle to keep us physically strong, which requires specific exercises. Our muscles stretch and retract to gain strength and Yoga asanas assist in gaining muscle strength. Yoga postures like Surya Namaskar, Virabhadrasana, Trikonasana, and Bhujangasana aid in muscle strengthening.
Meditation induces biological changes
Meditation is the core of yoga. Modern research has confirmed meditation induces biological changes and has a powerful healing impact on the body overall including mental wellbeing. Telomerase is an enzyme responsible for repairing cellular degradation and in turn prevents ageing. Those who meditate on a regular basis have at least 30% higher telomerase activity than those who don’t.
Asanas specific to chronic diseases
The beauty of Yoga lies in the different postures (asanas) that address different aspects and parts of the body and mind. For example;
Kapalabhati releases stress held in your body, particularly in your shoulders and upper back. It has been shown to ease some of the pressures that cause hypertension, resulting in a reduction in the number of drugs required on a daily basis.
Savasana for elders can help strengthen the bones by preventing osteoporosis, a disease that produces brittle or weak bones.
Uttanasana/ Halasana helps in improved sleeping patterns. Yoga for elders can be so soothing, that many people report sleeping longer and more soundly.
Ashtanga/ Yin helps in improving balance, flexibility, mobility, and strength. Yoga positions contain slow, deliberate motions that can improve balance and mobility.
Therefore, the benefits of yoga are tangible and making it a routine part of your life will most definitely aid in longevity and increase your lifespan. Now that you understand some of yoga’s many benefits, you’ll have even more motivation to step onto your yoga mat, knowing that it’s going to make your body happy more than ever!