There’s a lot of confusion about the recommendation from the American Heart Association for 30 minutes of exercise and what counts as exercise. Yoga is a popular exercise, yet some don’t provide the cardiovascular workout you get from running, rowing and other cardio workouts. Does that eliminate it from being counted as an exercise? First, there are many types of yoga and some do get your circulation moving and heart pumping. The gentler type of yoga is exercise, just not necessarily a cardio workout.
Hatha yoga is the most popular and gentlest form of yoga.
Hatha yoga may not provide the cardiovascular benefits, but that doesn’t mean it provides no benefits. It doesn’t provide moderate to vigorous intensity that’s necessary every day. It’s a set of postures know as asanas that are sequenced. They help improve flexibility, align the spine and improve energy flow throughout the body. You’ll build your strength and endurance with even the most gentle form of yoga. In fact, one study showed that after just twelve weeks of practicing yoga for an hour, it boosted both flexibility and muscular strength. That includes slowing down age-related muscle wasting. While it might not count as cardio, it does help boost your cardio endurance.
Not only does yoga improve heart health, it makes you feel better.
Yoga is a great stress reliever and helps lower blood pressure. It also aids in reducing inflammation and can be quite beneficial for weight loss, a contributor to heart disease. It also helps improve your mood, so your day looks and feels a lot better. A study found that women who practiced yoga for 8 weeks showed a dramatic decrease in the symptoms of depression, not just after the yoga, but all the time. It is also used as an adjunct therapy for people with schizophrenia, sleep disorders and ADHD.
Boost your balance and improve your brain.
Having better balance is important for everyone, but particularly for older adults. Hatha yoga, while not a cardio workout, can help in that area. It was shown to improve the balance and spinal flexibility in older women when just practiced one hour a week. It also changes your brain and boosts gray matter in the brain. The reason for that? It’s all about posture, meditation and the breathing exercises. The good posture also improves your energy level.
- While hatha yoga may not count as a cardio workout, combining it with walking can provide a well rounded program that’s good for beginners that have physical limitations.
- Yoga can be used on the days away from traditional exercise. It’s the perfect complement for the tough workouts and can keep you more flexible with less potential for injury.
- You can limit aches and pains with yoga. A number of studies show it’s good for conditions that include chronic pain, such as arthritis and headaches. People recovering from cancer treatments are now using yoga to aid recovery.
- Don’t worry about getting the heart pounding workout necessary for cardio strength. You can get it from following any of the Get Ripped programs that also provides flexibility training.
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