Yoga has become a wildly popular workout for people of all ages. It has also been scientifically proven to offer a number of different health benefits. From relieving stress to providing a great physical workout, yoga is truly an exercise everyone should try – at least a few times!
Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word “Yuji”. Yuji is a practice that brings together the mind and body, providing both mental and physical health benefits.
Stress and Anxiety
A little known scientifically proven fact is that practicing yoga can actually decrease the secretion of cortisol. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone. In studies, lower levels of cortisol resulted in lower levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
Many people turn to yoga as a way to cope with anxiety. Those with anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience fewer symptoms after doing yoga regularly for a period of time.
One study even showed that after practicing yoga for 10 weeks, participants previously diagnosed with PTSD no longer met the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis. Yoga helps people be more present and teaches people how to find a sense of peace regardless of what’s going on in their lives.
Physical Health Benefits of Yoga
Many athletes turn to yoga to improve flexibility and balance. Yoga provides benefits that cardio and strength exercises fail to offer. When added to other workout routines, it increases performance.
Flexibility and balance is also the reason yoga is perfect for older adults. As people age, their flexibility and balance are even more important. Remaining mobile is extremely important as you age. Practicing yoga has shown that older adults get four times the flexibility benefits from yoga than they do through calisthenics.
Most types of yoga incorporate breathing techniques. These exercises can also improve your ability to breathe easier. Those who suffer from asthma, heart disease, or lung disease have been found to improve breathing symptoms by doing yoga regularly.
Yoga is also a weight-bearing exercise that can improve strength in addition to balance and flexibility. Many of the poses in yoga are designed around building muscle. Studies have shown that people who practice yoga experience increased upper body strength, endurance, and weight loss.
Whether you want to relieve stress, lose weight, or build muscle, yoga is an excellent workout for people of all ages and abilities. If you are just starting out, try a few different types of yoga to find out which one matches your ability and goals most.