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In a word…Yoga.

Posted by wmagnus On June - 28 - 2010

Exercise is one of those essentials to good health, fitness and weight control. That’s not really up for debate. Exactly how to formulate a plan of exercise is more of a challenge. Hunting around online, there’s no shortage of recommendations of how to get going. Whether it’s a Men’s Health routine like the Spartacus Work-out, gonzo fitness like Crossfit, video plans like P90X or Slim-In-6, hitting up a trainer at your local gym or even starting a walking program, there is no shortage of options.

One thing that can get forgotten is flexibility training and more specifically yoga. P90Xers already know all about yoga as “the fountain of youth,” but is it really the answer to what ails you?Yoga’s origins in India and spiritual overtones put off a lot of people from practicing yoga. So much so, Czech researchers found that yoga lowered blood pressure in cardiac rehab patients, the trick with their primarily blue-collar group was to call it a “relaxation protocol” and not yoga. It seems educated female patients favor selecting yoga interventions for rehab, but the male roughneck crowd not so much. The benefits were definitely seen once the men were enrolled.

Yoga for seniors might not improve cognition but it definitely improves quality of life.

Asthmatics who practice yoga do better at controlling their asthma symptoms.

Depression? Yoga.

Back pain? Yoga.

Irritable bowel? Yoga.

Weight loss? Blood pressure? Sugar control? High cholesterol? Yoga.

Yoga is great, but it’s not enough. Cardiac demand increases while practicing yoga, but real cardiovascular exercise is still necessary as part of one’s overall plan. It’s a good starting point and people do tend to stick with yoga practice.

His Take: I’ve been doing yoga as part of my routine for the last couple of years. I have to say that it’s been challenging and rewarding. As with most fitness endeavors, I’ve tended to be a little sheepish to start with my first yoga experiences being light efforts at stretching. As it’s ramped up, my flexibility has greatly improved, so much so that the 13 year-old black belt in my house is even a little jealous. Not everyone can be as flexible as I’ve become but yoga will make you more flexible and better at all your other physical endeavors.

Starting out can be as easy as buying a video or attending a local class. Bikram yoga is hot and easy to find in most cities. Various other flavors are out there too, ashtanga yoga is my favorite but it’s more physically demanding with postures tending to require more muscle strength and endurance. No matter you you get there, though, adding yoga to your overall plan for aging against the machine is a healthy and rewarding idea. Namaste.

Her Take: Too many people ignore or merely give lip service to flexibility training. One great thing about yoga is that in addition to flexibility gains, you will also see some strength and endurance gains because of the isometric nature of some postures.

One Response to “In a word…Yoga.”

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