The popularity of different styles Yoga exercise has increased dramatically over the last few years.
This is partly due to all the many celebrities who are telling the public how effective yoga is for them. Although there are many styles of yoga today, the original classical techniques of yoga date back more than 5,000 years.
Yoga, which actually means “to join or yoke together,” is a system of physical exercise or postures, controlled breathing and meditation, which bring the body and mind together into one flow of energy.
Lately there have been well over 2000 scientific research studies done on the benefits of Yoga exercise and show why it has not just been a trendy fad but has really endured the test of time.
The benefits of yoga seem many and include…..…….
increases in muscular strength, flexibility, balance and coordination.
With improved balance , yoga has also been found to reduce falls in the elderly.
Yoga devotees will also, increase their bone mineral density (because the exercises use their body weight).
In terms of overall body wellness, yoga has been shown to
improve the quality of our sleep,
decrease blood pressure,
helps us manage stress and depression,
and overall makes us feel better about ourselves.
Ask anyone who takes yoga classes on a regular basis and they will tell you that a yoga class is not easy.
At my health club, Northridge Health Performance Centre, I have seen a number of people signing up for classes thinking that they’re in for an hour of laying back and stretching. Except in our chair yoga classes, my new participant come out of my studio saying “I didn’t know it was going to be so challenging but . . . I love it”.
While Yoga can be very relaxing, the typical stretching postures work the muscles intensely – expect to sweat! Many of the classic yoga poses require that all of the muscles in the entire body isometric ally contract in order to support and maintain the pose for many seconds.
Here’s what else the most current research is showing: When it comes to strengthening and stretching your muscles, yoga has all the benefits. However, although Yoga has been shown to provide only small benefits to the health of your heart and lungs. This is because most yoga classes are not vigorous enough to keep you in your target heart rate zones for the recommended duration of 20-60 minutes to improve your cardio respiratory system.
In addition, because yoga it is such a slow-moving activity it will not increase your ability to move quickly, have a quick reactions, good agility, power and speed in your movements – all very important skills to maintain as we get older!
So how to we get all the improvements that our bodies need as we age? Simply have a personal fitness program that combines cardio exercise like power walking, cycling, jogging or taking fitness classes with Yoga is the most effective approach. You could also add swimming if weight loss is not a concern for you.
Here’s how your program could look:
In any given week, you could power walk or take a cardio class on Tuesdays , Thursdays and Saturdays and then on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, take a yoga class. I would recommend taking a variety of yoga classes to get the best well rounded yoga workout.
As an alternative, if you can only fit in 3 workouts a week, go for a 30 minute power walk, take Zumba (my favourite) or work out on an elliptical trainer before each Yoga class.
My home and ZUMBA bonus workouts will be available in the Ageless Body Program this fall. Watch for our registration date coming soon!
To your best health,