Top 10 Benefits of Yoga for Your Health
Yoga, a practice known for its health and relaxation benefits, has become an everyday exercise among all age groups. If you’ve never tried yoga, you may be intimidated by popular photos online of people practicing acro yoga. However, most yoga practices offer health benefits for people at all stages of flexibility, athletic ability, and stamina. You might even be prescribed movements derived from yoga by your physical therapist as you recover from orthopedic surgery or treat an orthopedic condition.
At Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, we want you to feel your best and lead a healthy lifestyle. Part of this includes staying active and mobile. Whether you need a low-impact exercise recommended by your physical therapist or are just looking for a new exercise program, yoga can offer many worthwhile health perks. Below we describe the top 10 benefits that yoga can bring into your life.
1. Range of Motion in Joints
If you struggle with moving certain areas of your body, yoga is a great way to improve your range of motion. Perhaps your hips are tight, or your shoulders don’t allow you to reach as far as you would like. Yoga pose staples, like a downward-facing dog, require you to exhibit an average or above average range of motion in the shoulders, hips, and ankles. If you can’t do the post correctly, yoga offers a great way to set a range of motion goal. You can begin by trying pose modifications and work your way up to the correct pose as your range of motion improves with each yoga practice.
2. Flexibility in Muscles
Similar to improving range of motion, yoga improves your muscle flexibility. As you hit different yoga poses, your muscles bend and stretch to achieve the proper form. Over time, you’ll be able to move your muscles more and more as they get used to the movements. Yoga poses target the flexibility of different muscle groups, so you can pick and choose what movements might be more beneficial for your body.
Many yoga poses focus on creating a stable base for your body and improving your balance. Many poses will focus on grounding firmly through your feet and legs. They also often focus on maintaining an active core and stabilizing your body to achieve various movements. This focus on grounding and stabilization will improve your balance over time which easily translates to simple, everyday balancing. Improving your balance benefits your orthopedic health as it allows you to coordinate your movements. Balancing helps you to move and decreases the chance of falling over and injuring yourself.
One of the main focuses of yoga is doing each movement with proper posture. To achieve this, you must draw your attention to notice if you are slouching. Many poses emphasize aligning your bones correctly to achieve each pose. As you improve your core strength and focus on the proper form, you naturally will improve your posture.
5. Builds Strength and Muscle Tone
While traditional yoga doesn’t involve using additional weights or equipment, the movements use the weight of your body to build strength. Holding weight-bearing poses will increase your strength over time and improve your muscle tone. Increasing your muscle strength will help you to move through life with greater ease in your everyday life that can help to prevent possible injuries.
6. Cardiovascular Benefits
Participating in a yoga “flow” practice focuses on hitting several different forms and increasing your heart rate. After a few minutes of a yoga “flow”, you’ll quickly work up a sweat! A yoga flow can fulfill your daily recommended aerobic exercise in no time, reaping the full cardiovascular benefits of exercise.
7. Weight Loss
Getting your aerobic exercise up and building your muscle tone can often contribute to weight loss if combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Less excess weight means less strain on your bones and joints which can help prevent injury and the development of orthopedic conditions.
8. Provides Relief
As mentioned, a physical therapist may recommend various exercises derived from yoga. Yoga can help improve painful conditions and your joints and muscles function. For example, yoga can sometimes help treat arthritis as it can reduce pain and stiffness. Improving your blood circulation is commonly known to reduce pain caused by inactivity, and stretching out a stiff muscle can often help the muscle to relax and move.
9. Reduces Stress
A major reason why many love to practice yoga include its benefits on mental health and stress. While it can help improve your physical body, it also boasts the mental health benefits from meditation, mindful breathing, and mental imagery. Combining these mental activities with physical movement can boost your mood, increase your mindfulness, and improve your self-compassion.
10. Builds Community
One of the great benefits of yoga is that you can do it at home, with limited resources, and with others in a community setting. If you seek a new way to connect with others, a yoga class may be the perfect opportunity! Not only will you meet other people looking to improve their health, but you’ll also be able to bond over the shared experience of working on proving your yoga practice over time.
If a painful orthopedic injury or condition is holding you back from trying yoga or living a healthy and pain-free life, make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists today.