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Yoga: Not Just for Stretching Anymore

Posted by bmagnus On January - 4 - 2010

We’ve written extensively on the benefits of exercise for weight loss, disease prevention and the various ways staying active can help you age against the machine. One of the problems with exercise programs is finding ways to keep them satisfying and interesting. Coming out of several months of super intense cardio, I wanted to reintegrate some of the more satisfying yoga that I’d done in the past.

As part of digging through the scientific literature, I found some remarkable facts about yoga that I hadn’t seen before including one new study that shows yoga benefits even some of the most ill people.My primary interest right now is in cardiovascular effects, most specifically calorie burn. Yoga, it turns out, isn’t bad but it’s not great cardio. Even the most intense power or Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga barely nudges up into moderate exercise when measured using various exercise stress indicators.

I did notice during my literature search a new study pending publication that confirms some older work. Yoga, it turns out, lowers inflammatory factors and improves heart function in African American heart failure patients. This study confirms that even in special genetic populations what researchers first published in 2003.

It’s not good cardio but the cardiovascular effects can be pretty good. Yoga it seems also improves vascular tone in patients with existing heart disease. Who knew?

The anti-inflammatory power of yoga has even been noticed by researchers looking at obesity hormones. As we’ve talked about before, obesity results in higher levels of key inflammatory hormones that cause some of the other disease states associated with obesity. Combining yoga with a balance of cardio and weight training for just 12 weeks saw significant improvement in both inflammatory factors and obesity hormones in this study.

Having been serious about exercise for a number of years, it can be hard to figure out the right mix of exercises to achieve optimum results. Cardio and strength training are sure bets to burn calories and lose weight. Integrating a little yoga can round things out in a way that bring not only flexibility but a host of subtle hormonal and cardiovascular benefits.

One Response to “Yoga: Not Just for Stretching Anymore”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bridget Magnus, Warren Magnus. Warren Magnus said: New post at Age Against the Machine: Yoga: Not Just for Stretching Anymore http://bit.ly/4WPD0l […]