Everyone is aware of the importance of staying physically active to live a long and healthy life, but not everyone is aware that there are different types of exercises to engage in to stay fit. Spending long hours at the gym three times a week isn’t necessary for everyone in order to reap the benefits of exercising.
In fact, vigorous exercise can do more harm than good to those who are just beginning to get in shape. If you’re just starting out, it’s better to engage in low-impact exercise first. Yoga is a good example of an exercise that just about anyone at any fitness level can do.
#1: Weight Loss
Yoga consists of various physical movements and meditative experiences used together to relax your body and mind. Traditional yoga involves spirituality as well, though yoga in the western world sees it as more of an exercise rather than a spiritual discipline. Though it’s mostly stretches and poses, yoga is a good way to lose weight. Though the movements don’t require you to move at a fast pace, they do require you to use a variety of muscles, including your core muscles, which allow you to break a sweat and burn energy. Practicing yoga along with eating a healthy, balanced diet can lead to healthy weight loss.
#2: Increased Blood Flow and Energy
Unlike walking or running, which are cardiovascular exercises that also help tone your leg muscles, yoga incorporates your entire body. While the focus may be the core, all parts of your body are used in many of the traditional yoga poses. Because of this, both your heart rate and your blood flow greatly increase throughout your entire body. Movements like “dancing dog”, which is the constant transition from downward facing dog to upward facing dog, is a great example of how yoga movements use the entire body, getting your blood flowing. Many of these exercises are also both energizing and relaxing, which allows you to be more alert throughout the day and sleep better at night.
#3: Protects You from Athletic Injuries
Have you ever noticed how professional athletes always stretch before a game or other physical activity? Well, this is to reduce the likelihood of becoming injured during that activity. Even those who work out on a regular basis understand the importance of stretching and/or warming up before starting a workout.
Yoga is made up of mostly stretching movements, so engaging in yoga increases your flexibility level making it less likely that you’ll pull a muscle or experience some other type of athletic injury once you start engaging in more vigorous physical activity. It’s like stretching and exercising all in one workout!
#4: Improves Posture and Muscle Strength
A lot of the time, we’re hunched over our computers or phones and slouching in our chairs and this has a negative effect on our posture. Fortunately, yoga is a very mindful exercise that requires you to be aware of your positioning during all of the poses.
Additionally, all of the stretches open up your chest and back muscles, correcting your posture and strengthening these muscles and more at the same time. Stronger muscles and joints allow you to stay mobile as you grow older, reducing the likelihood of having to live in an assisted care facility in your older age. Unfortunately, those who have limited mobility are more likely to be cared for insufficiently in a nursing home or other assisted care facility.
Yoga is an all-in-one type of exercise that allows you to burn fat, increase your heart rate and flexibility, and allows you to build muscle. It’s the perfect exercise for those who have never exercised before and for those who have been exercising for years because of its different levels of difficulty. Anyone can engage in yoga as long as it’s modified for their ability level, from small children to senior citizens.