FEELING GREAT: Yoga is gymnastics for the over 50s

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Let me tell you a quick story.

So yesterday my little boy Harry made his debut at gym club.

He’s just 16 months old and despite his occasional reluctance to follow the instructions of the tutor, he had a fun time running around in an environment set up by the Hartlepool Gymnastics club which encourages toddlers to be more active.

Is he going to go on to become a world-class gymnast?

That’s for him to decide later on I guess but what WILL happen in the mean time is a few very healthy habits will be formed in his life from an early age.

And that’s important, because you’re never too young to start them and as a parent I often think you have to be careful not to succumb to the temptation of always thinking that stuff like this is for another day – off in the future somewhere i.e. “I’ll do that when he or she gets a bit older so they can appreciate it”.

I’d also say the reverse is true.

That you’re never too old to begin some better health habits.

Now, if you’re aged 50+, I’m not suggesting that you take up gymnastics.

I’m sure the Hartlepool Gymnastics club will welcome you with open arms, but your muscles and joints might not be so enthusiastic as to let you take part.

But in all seriousness, improving your flexibility is something that is important.

I’d say it’s one of the top three things that you should pay attention to if you’re aged 50+ and do all that you can to slow down the very life limiting effect of losing some of it – which you are, everyday that you wake up!

So what to do about it? I’d describe yoga as “gymnastics for fifty somethings” and is easily the best way I know to help keep a little more supple and less restricted – and it’s not all that difficult to do.

Show up at a class once per week (twice if you can) and copy what the instructor tells you do to and just stop when you’ve stretched as far as you can!

It’s a shame that so many people will spend their time going to classes like “body pump” or “spinning”, to trim down a few pounds and improve how they look – but rarely do many people give much thought to their flexibility.

Yet, a lack of it, well, it’s the one thing that is likely to be responsible for nearly all of their aches and pains – the ones so common and so easy to wake up with once you pass 50.

So anyway, the moral of this weeks story is this:

You’re never too young to start something.

And if you’re contemplating taking your children or grandchildren along to an activity that looks fun and healthy, why wait? And is there one in town which you can join in too?

It’s not for doubting that health habits in the young are much more likely to stick if children see their parents and grandparents doing the same.

And if you’re in the latter age group, why not spend just 10 minutes per day doing some simple stretches or go along to a local yoga class once per week?

You might find yourself living with much less back or neck ache - even just able to reach down and put your socks and shoes on more easily or lean forward to pick up the TV remote.

And that would be nice, right?