Growing older means the body needs extra special care. Poor posture, a weak and out-of-shape core or lower back pain are common complaints amongst older men. Staying in shape with good muscle tone, strength, balance and flexibility are more important than ever. That’s why older men – defined as guys over the age of 40 – should perform 3 yoga moves everyday helping them be at the top of their fitness game. Since none of us are getting any younger, the time is now to protect the body with targeted yoga positions helping limber up and strengthen the back, abs, arms, and legs with 3 moves done regularly.
These 3 yoga moves are as simple as it gets and worth the effort:
1. Cat Cow pose
What it does: This simple pose focuses on breath-synchronization beneficial for body and mind. It’s a gentle move good for spine flexibility opening up the chest while stretching the back, torso, and neck, helping stimulate and strengthen abdominal muscles.
How to do it: Get on all fours with hands directly beneath the shoulders with knee’s hip-width apart, directly underneath the hips. Begin with the “saggy cow” move by arching the lower and upper back upwards as much as possible while looking up to the ceiling and squeezing the shoulder blades together. Hold for about 5 seconds. Then change positions to the “angry cat” by slowing flexing the spine by tucking the butt in towards the abdomen while rounding your back upwards feeling the shoulder blades spreading apart. While in this position, suck in and squeeze abs as tightly as possible. Hold position for about 5 seconds. Do 8-12 repetitions, rest for 2 minutes and repeat.
2. Bridge pose
What it does: Helps stretch the front side of the body as well as the spine and rib cage. This somewhat challenging move also stretches the back of the neck, the thighs, and hip flexors. Performing this pose also stimulates abdominal muscles while improving digestion.
How to do it: Lie on your back with arms by alongside the body. Bend knees and bring heels close to the buttocks with feet about hip width apart. Exhale pushing feet and arms into the floor while lifting the hips towards the ceiling. Keep thighs parallel while lifting. Bring fingers together under the pelvis while stretching arms towards the feet. Hold pose for at least 10 seconds; move arms alongside body while lowering the hips back to the floor while exhaling. Complete a set of 5-10 repetitions holding each pose for at least 10 seconds.
3. Downward facing dog pose
What it does: This is a great pose for strengthening the entire body from the arms, back, abdomen and legs. It also stretches the hamstrings, ankles, calves as well as the entire spine. It helps relieve shoulder stiffness, restores energy, tones the legs and slows the heartbeat.
How to do it: Start on hands and knees with hips above the knees and shoulder above the wrists. Press hands firmly into the floor, exhale and lift knees off the floor, keeping knees slightly bent. The tailbone should be stretching towards the ceiling as it lengthens the spine. Press heels down towards the floor as low as possible to touch the floor, if able. Think of this position as an upside-down V pose. While in this position, “walk the dog” by alternately bending and straightening the legs several times. Then bring both heels towards the floor – they do not have to touch. Hold for about 5 breaths. To come out of the pose, bring knees back to the floor. Perform this pose up to 5 sets.