To many, yoga is a strange and mysterious activity. It conjures up visions of ancient practitioners and strange spiritual practices. In reality, yoga is a great full body workout that will not only strengthen and tone your muscles but will also improve you overall health.
Many gyms and health clubs now offer yoga classes for all levels. If you decide to take the plunge and start practicing yoga you will start on a path towards total health. There are a number of benefits that you will reap from yoga. Here are just a few.
Does Yoga Build Muscle?
Having strong, well defined muscles may make you look good but they benefit you in other ways, too. Strong muscles help prevent conditions like arthritis and back pain and many other degenerative conditions that happen as you get older. Yoga is a great way to build muscle tone.
Will Yoga Improve My Flexibility?
Having good muscle tone is one thing, but when you combine it with flexibility you are really building a strong, healthy body. When you first start practicing yoga you will most likely not be too flexible. Touching your toes may be a real challenge. But as you progress you will notice a gradual loosening of your joints. Poses that seemed impossible before will now bring a smile to your face.
What About Heart Health?
It may not seem like it, but yoga is a tough workout. You will sweat, your heart rate will increase and you will likely be sore the next day if you are just beginning. Getting your heart rate into the aerobic range can lessen your chances of a heart attack. While not all yoga classes will get your heart up into that range any yoga class will benefit your heart.
Studies have shown that yoga can lower your resting heart rate and increase your endurance. For this reason alone yoga should become part of your exercise routine.
There are also a number of studies that show how yoga can lower your blood pressure. A simple pose like Savasana (or Corpse Pose) which is nothing more than having your lie still on the floor, has been proven to lower blood pressure, according to British medical journal The Lancet.
Can Yoga Help My Joints?
During every yoga class you will be taking your joints through a full range of motion. Your joint cartilage is similar to a sponge. As you move you “squeeze” the cartilage and fluid goes out and then fresh nutrients come back in. This continual movement can help prevent degenerative diseases like arthritis.
Another great thing about yoga is that is soothes the mind and relaxes you. And we could all need a breather every now and then.
If you want to learn more about yoga or find another type of workout regimen for you, contact me, Ralph Roberts. I am a certified personal trainer with the Downtown Athletic Club in Amarillo, Texas. Get in touch with me today to set up a personal training session.
photo courtesy of Ambro / Free Digital Photos
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