Watch Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 5pm & Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 11am on WMHT TV.
One of the downsides of aging is losing muscle, followed closely by declining strength and balance, and for many the world starts teetering. Muscle loss actually begins when we are in our thirties (earlier than most might have guessed), and continues at a rate of about three percent per decade without intervention. According to Peggy Cappy, whose gentle yoga approach has helped people reduce stress and create greater comfort and ease in body, mind and spirit for more than forty years, yoga can come to the rescue. “It’s a naturally weight-bearing exercise that happens through the poses that you’ll learn to do,” says Cappy. “So when you are lifting your limbs and holding yourbody in different positions you are building back your strength.”
Yoga has also been shown to be highly effective in helping regain balance, and the encouraging news is that the earlier yoga practice is begun the less damage control is necessary. Statistics support the fact that very few will escape problems with balance. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, approximately 30% of people over 65 will fall this year, and the rates among those 76 and older will be dramatically higher. Those who do fall are more likely to suffer injuries that can impede mobility, and greatly increase their risk of premature death.
In EASY YOGA: THE SECRET TO STRENGTH AND BALANCE, Peggy shows how yoga can come to the aid of those who want to increase strength and mobility at any age. Peggy’s classes in Peterborough, New Hampshire are living examples that it’s never too late to begin. The program introduces students from ages 30 to 80 who practice yoga, and reveals how yoga has positively impacted their lives.
The program consists of two segments, the first of which focuses on maintaining and developing better balance, while the second focuses on breathing and building strength.
Building Better Balance: Yoga is a low-impact exercise that can work wonders for improving balance. Based on the principle of being mindful of how your body responds to any movement, yoga improves balance by improving awareness of the body. When practicing yoga poses, we need to be fully present and live in the moment of that pose. This means being aware of the sensations in the body as that pose is held. With enough practice, we learn how to precisely shift our weight to retain balance with each unique pose, which in turn can make us feel more secure against falling.
Building Strength: Experts advise doing some form of strength training at least two times a week. Not only is it the number one preventive measure against bone loss, but it also keeps the metabolism running efficiently. When most people hear the term “strength training,” they think of weight training with numerous reps of muscle contractions and using weights as resistance. Contrary to what many believe, however, yoga is an effective way to get toned. There are six poses (asanas) that build arm strength alone! Many who’ve experienced sore muscles after yoga class know it’s because the poses are building strength in those muscles.
According to Peggy Cappy, “Yoga poses that help with strength and balance also improve other things that might ail you as well. They will naturally work to improve your range of motion and the strength of your muscles. While you’re concentrating on the swaying of your body, your muscles are also naturally getting stronger.”