Meditation and breathing exercises for the elderly

The best relaxation activities for older adults

Finding harmony in everyday life is not always an easy task. Rushing, stress, bad news... All these negative aspects installed in our routines especially affect the elderly, for whom every small change represents a big challenge. How can we deal with them? By proposing accessible and efficient solutions for the management of anxiety in old age, such as relaxation, meditation and breathing exercises or activities for adults. What are the benefits of meditation? Continue reading to learn how meditation and breathing exercises for elderly people help them have a better life.

How to calm the anxiety of an elderly person with relaxation activities?

Current circumstances are not conducive to a relaxed and optimistic emotional state. The pandemic, the war, the crisis... But the truth is that this is not circumstantial: in reality, there is always some cause for concern.

Are you wondering how to relieve stress and anxiety? Worry no more! Relaxation and stress relief activities for adults are presented as an effective tool to combat these altered states so common in these times and their consequences. From yoga for seniors over 80 years old to relaxation exercises for sleep, there are numerous relaxation methods and stress relief activities to promote good health.

Including them as part of an older adult's stress management exercises routine will help to avoid the generalised breakdown of the body caused by too much unnecessary stress.

How to relax from stress and anxiety? A guide to relaxation and breathing exercises for beginners

Managing anxiety in old age has special characteristics, especially for beginners. The physical conditions of an older person are not the same as those of a younger person, so relaxation methods must be adapted to a slower pace, less flexibility, and somewhat more limited strength and coordination.

This does not mean that there are no equally effective relaxation methods, including yoga and Pilates classes for older people. By adapting traditional exercises like yoga breathing exercises, relaxation techniques can be successfully implemented.

Guided breathing exercises for relaxation

Lean back in an armchair, with your back against the backrest and your hands on your abdomen. Breathe in strongly through your nose and breathe out strongly through your mouth, feeling your abdomen increase and decrease in volume. Do sets of 5 breaths and rest for 1 minute between sets. This is one of the simplest guided breathing exercises for older adults and can be practised at any time of the day.

Standing with legs slightly apart, inhale deeply as you raise your arms and exhale as you lower them. Repeat in sets of 3 full breaths, alternating one set with arms above the head and one set with arms to the forehead. It is important to keep the rhythm of this breathing exercise. So you can help yourself with some relaxing music while performing this or any other guided breathing exercises.

Seated exercise for elderly people

Sitting on a chair with your back against the backrest and your arms at a 45º angle to your sides. Clench your fists and slowly rotate your wrists to one side and then the other, for 5 minutes. Then rest your wrists on your thighs and open and close your fingers for 5 minutes. Finally, stretch your arms out in front of you and extend the palms of your hands as if you were pushing against an imaginary wall. Open and close your arms 10 times. All movements should be accompanied by rhythmic breathing.

Self-massage is another very effective method of relaxation and meditation for adults. You can practice it by sitting on a chair and rolling your bare feet on a textured massage cylinder. The home way to perform this self-massage is to use a cloth bag filled with rice and slide your foot from heel to toe over the surface.

Inner relaxation techniques

This is one of the best meditation techniques for elderly that consists of creating an atmosphere conducive to feeling calm. Pleasant aromas, relaxing music, and comforting places help. These relaxation methods require you to take control of your breathing to slow your heart rate and bring calm to every corner of your body.

A good method to achieve this is to concentrate on relaxation independently: first the toes, then the legs, the torso and back, the upper limbs, and finally the head. It is, therefore, a technique that combines very well with progressive muscle relaxation.

Yoga and Pilates for older people

These are two disciplines with great advantages for relaxation in the elderly. Learning to breathe and improve posture through muscle strengthening makes an important change in the quality of life, in rest, and in promoting a more positive attitude.

Managing anxiety in old age requires the design of routines that allow the older adult to remain active. Relaxation and stress management exercises for adults through breathing or meditation are most effective when combined with physical and mental exercise, such as occupational therapy or art therapy. Moderate activity, adapted to the individual's level of ability, will help to take control of those aspects that can have a negative impact on the physical and psychological health of older people.

Mental health in the elderly