If you ask most men over 50 if they would ever consider practicing yoga, their response is generally one of “yeah right,” coinciding with a look of disbelief that you dare even suggest it. “Maybe I should grow a ponytail, join a drum circle and get a weekly vegan colonic too?”
Yoga may not be your cup of tea at first glance, but it’s a proven exercise method for increasing flexibility, maintaining a sharp mind, preventing injury, and speeding recovery.
To a lot of men, yoga doesn’t seem like real exercise. It’s a women’s thing and looks too easy to be effective. So says the guy who thinks he can keep up with men half his age yet hasn’t been able to touch his toes in a decade.
Yoga is a powerful combination of balance, flexibility, and strength. And, if you think it’s easy, you’ve obviously never tried it. Unlike tossing around some steel in the weight room or going for a run on a treadmill, yoga is low-impact, minimizing the likelihood of injury. The amazing thing about yoga is the less flexible or athletic you are, the more significant the impact of starting a practice.
For those of us of advanced age, quick or repetitive bodily movements often lead to physical pain. How does your back feel whenever you work in the yard for an hour, play golf, or go bowling? Probably not so good for a couple of reasons; lack of flexibility and infrequent use of specific muscle groups.
Yoga is a form of resistance training using your body weight that improves muscle strength and tone. The variety of poses in yoga activate your core and work additional body parts simultaneously. If cardio is your thing, you’ll work up quite a sweat and be out of breath after only a few minutes.
Practicing yoga puts all the machines from the gym into one simple, portable, and inexpensive package; your body.
Most people don’t realize that your bone strength improves in much the same way as muscle. Bones are living tissue that breaks down and rebuilds themselves. Once you hit the ripe old age of 30, most men reach their maximum bone mass. For those of us planning to see 90, that means our bone mass must maintain us for another two-thirds of our lifetime.
Resistance training after 50 is vital to keeping our bones strong, and yoga is one of the safer and more effective methods of accomplishing it.
Balance and flexibility
Balance and flexibility are probably the most overlooked yet apparent markers of aging. When you see another guy having trouble getting out of a chair or walking, the first thing that comes to mind is his age. “Look at that old dude. He can hardly move.”
The challenge of balance and flexibility is that men don’t like to work on them. When you resistance train, a visible change in muscle tone occurs, and the number on the bathroom scale drops. The results are noticeable and reaffirming. Stretching and working on your core is a slow go, and oftentimes the results are indistinguishable.
Yoga is fantastic for flexibility. Holding a pose and concentrating on your breathing allows your muscles and connective tissues to relax, which increases your range of motion.
Older adults tend to lose strength in their abdominal muscles, and yoga drastically improves core stability. Outside of the fluid in your ear canal, maintaining your balance relies almost entirely on your core strength.
Practicing yoga requires the ability to focus your mind. This level of concentration is a form of meditation without the cushion and monkey mind. You don’t realize your meditating, but you are.
Several studies point to yoga for improving cognitive abilities, including your brain’s speed and accuracy. Yoga also empowers men to handle stress and anxiety better.
The meditative aspect of yoga practice produces short and long-term mental health benefits.
Some of a guy’s biggest hangups when it comes to sexual performance are physical appearance and stamina. We get stuck in our heads a lot! Our inability to focus on our partner and relax leads to a lack of confidence in our bedroom skills.
Yoga benefits your stamina, flexibility, and concentration. All three of these traits are necessary for optimal performance. It’s almost impossible to have “hang from the chandelier” sex if you need a stepladder, back brace, and frequent stops to catch your breath.
If you’re comfortable in your skin and confident in your sexual prowess, it leads to a more intimate connection with your partner. Sex is more than a physical experience. It’s vital to your mental and emotional health. Quite simply, yoga makes you better at sex.
If the benefits of yoga haven’t yet convinced you to give it a try, we have one more selling point. It’s been said that yoga pants are one of man’s greatest inventions. It’s right up there with the wheel and nuclear fission. If you would like to witness these wonders of Lycra and nylon up close, take a midday yoga class.
Take care, even down there.
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