Over the past few years as I’ve been doing research on yoga and aging, I’ve come across several recommendations from experts saying that as you get older your workout routine should change. In particular, the general consensus is that the length of your workouts should get shorter. Yes, you heard that right! Less exercise! The fact is that as we age we lose muscle mass (students may remember me talking about ‘sarcopenia’ in classes before) and our energy levels just aren’t what they used to be (thanks to declining hormones like estrogen and testosterone). Plus, when you exercise more it increases cortisol (the stress hormone), which can also increase weight and inflammation (and they already have a tendency to increase with age unfortunately).
I know a lot of us are saying ‘Great, I’m happy to exercise less!’ BUT…(there’s always a but…) the trade-off is that in that shorter length of time you need to exercise hard. Intensity is what is important to maintain strength in your muscles, bones, heart and lungs.
I, personally, have been experimenting with this idea of shorter workouts over the past couple years and have really been enjoying them. I don’t dump stress hormones into my body, I don’t feel depleted afterwards, and I still get a whole-body, cardio-strength-flexibility-building workout.
So with that in mind, I’ve created a *new* style of yoga class that I’m calling Functional Flow Yoga. In a 30-minute Functional Flow class, you will move your body (almost) continuously through a sequence of various dynamic yoga poses (the ‘flow’ part) to get your heart rate up and build strength and flexibility (the ‘functional’ part). Functional Flow Yoga is the perfect full-body workout for yoga lovers in their 40s, 50s and beyond.
How is Functional Flow Yoga different from Vinyasa? I’m glad you asked! One of the other reasons I created this new style is because, once I hit 50, I started noticing that Vinyasa was getting harder on my joints. All the planks to chaturangas to upward dogs were not feeling good for my shoulders and wrists anymore. So, while Functional Flow Yoga does still include upper body strengthening, it doesn’t include lots of Vinyasas. We’re working smarter in this class, and being kinder to our joints. And because it’s still yoga, I encourage you to listen to your body, go at your own pace, and build up to the amount of intensity and flow that feels right for you.
Curious to know where you can find the full 30-minute sequence? It’s part of my Ultimate Perimenopause Guide, which I created to empower women over 40 to support their body throughout this life transition. Get it for $19 for a limited time!