When yoga became a rage, many thought it was something for hippies or the unusual. It wasn’t considered true exercise. Today’s yoga is much different and although the routines haven’t changed, it has many benefits including weight loss. Here are four reasons why you should put yoga on your New Year’ resolution list.
Weight Loss and Cardio Preparation
According to WebMD, a study by practicing yogi Alan Kristal, DPH, MPH showed that weight loss is possible for those who choose yoga. A trial of 15,000 middle-aged men and women showed that those who practiced yoga lost five pounds compared to those who did not engage in the activity. Those that skipped the yoga gained an average of 14 pounds during the length of the study.
In addition, yoga can aid tremendously as a cardio preparation tool. The positions, stretches and bending are all ways to loosen up muscles to help you prepare for that run on the treadmill, a ride on a bicycle or a jog in the park.
Be a Happier, Healthier Person
One of the concepts behind yoga is how it can affect your mind, body and spirit. The Mayo Clinic agrees with this philosophy. The clinic touts that “Yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve heart function.” Yoga also helps to relieve or help:
- Stress – Through breathing and movement, stress is often relieved, especially in those who practice yoga regularly.
- Better State of Mind – Yoga also helps offer an overall sense of well-being and enhanced, happy moods.
- Range of Motion – Practicing yoga also aids in flexibility of muscles, range of motion, improved balance and helps to strengthen muscles and joints. A body with fit muscles and joints has a lesser chance of strains and sprains that often require a trip to an urgent care facility for emergency treatment.
- Chronic Medical Conditions – Yoga is often recommended to people suffering from chronic illnesses including those with heart disease and high blood pressure. Because of its calming effects, many physicians also recommend yoga to help with anxiety, insomnia and depression.
Great Physical Therapy Tool
Yoga is often prescribed for those with back, neck, leg, arms and muscle injuries. Ask any physical therapist and they’ll tell you most of the exercises they utilize for those in therapy include yoga.
For sports injuries to those from falls or strains, our bodies benefit from the subtle movement yoga provides. It also aids in regaining the strength in muscles after a long illness or surgery.
For those with chronic back pain, yoga is widely used in many physical therapy centers. Back pain management often means prescribed pain killers, but with the help of yoga, patients are able to reap the rewards of alleviating back pain and managing it with OTC medications.
Tips for Yoga Success
As with any other exercise program, those interested in placing yoga on their exercise plan should seek experienced yoga centers or buy one of the many available DVDs revealing the proper way to perform yoga moves.
Jumping in without any advice or position examples may cause muscle strains or tears that require you visit an urgent care.
You should also plan to use yoga as part of you routine and be sure to add cardio exercises to complement yoga benefits.
Yoga is not just beneficial for your body and health, proponents of yoga say once they began — they found more peaceful moods, an energized outlook and a happy spirit.
Jacob Anderson is a freelance journalist from Scottsdale, Arizona who writes for a variety of health and wellness blogs and periodicals.