Fitness Benefits of Yoga

Everyone has heard of yoga, and most people have a sense of what it is.  Whether you’re a yoga fanatic or someone who hasn’t ever thought about giving it a try, this type of workout can be a great compliment to your current routine.  Yoga has been practiced for over 5,000 years, and with the ultimate goal of uniting body, mind and spirit, it’s a great addition for runners, golfers and anyone else who spends a little time getting fit.

Yoga improves flexibility by working through a series of poses to safely stretch muscles and soft tissues.  Better flexibility decreases lower back pain and prevents post workout stiffness.  Flexibility will also give your body more power through a larger range of motion, generating more power in a golf swing and more fluid hip movement for runners.  The muscle balance demanded by yoga will also lead to improved club control for golfers, and for runners, yoga helps maintain body alignment and reduce the risk of injury.

Yoga requires deep, controlled, mindful breathing, and in turn creates a relaxation response from the body.  This relaxing effect has been shown to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with depression, help insomniacs fall asleep faster and improve mood states.  Improved breath control gives golfers a better swing rhythm, and benefits are seen when pregnant women practice prenatal yoga because it helps with breath control and pain management during labor and delivery.  Practicing power yoga in a heated room can, in itself, be a tough aerobic workout for any one.

It’s important to be aware of the risks of yoga as well.  Though it may sound nice and easy, it is possible to hurt yourself by overstretching and straining to reach that next pose.  People with severe osteoporosis, who are pregnant or have spinal problems should be aware of this increased risk and discuss their yoga training with a physician.  Warming up, staying hydrated, dressing properly and listening to your body are just as important when doing yoga as they are when going for a run or any kind of weight lifting workout, so take it seriously!

The best way to learn about yoga is to get out there and try a class!  You might not fall in love with the first style you try, so give each type a shot.  Find a studio near you, make sure you have a qualified instructor and take a friend.  For help finding and instructor or studio near you, contact us at Info@FitNicePT.com.

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