The benefits of yoga are vast - from mental health to physical health, Yoga can be a great supplement (or direct therapy) when it comes to taking care of our overall health.
One benefit of yoga is how it helps with our muscles - increasing their flexibility and strength as well as improving our posture which in turn, helps our muscles again.
How exactly does yoga help?
Yoga poses call for the stretch and hold of our muscles. This will not increase their size but holding this poses will add strength to our back, arm, belly and leg muscles as we create resistance in our bodies, and putting our muscles to work. The repetition and holding of poses can offer a regular, low impact work out routine for our muscles that's less likely to causes strains or pull than heavier training like weight lifting.
A study conducted in 2007 found the following:
"Ten healthy, untrained volunteers (nine females and one male), ranging in age from 18–27 years, were studied to determine the effects of hatha yoga practice on the health-related aspects of physical fitness, including muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, and pulmonary function. Subjects were required to attend a minimum of two yoga classes per week for a total of 8 weeks. Each yoga session consisted of 10 minutes of pranayamas (breath-control exercises), 15 minutes of dynamic warm-up exercises, 50 minutes of asanas (yoga postures), and 10 minutes of supine relaxation in savasana (corpse pose). The subjects were evaluated before and after the 8-week training program. Isokinetic muscular strength for elbow extension, elbow flexion, and knee extension increased by 31%, 19%, and 28% (p<0.05), respectively, whereas isometric muscular endurance for knee flexion increased 57% (p<0.01). Ankle flexibility, shoulder elevation, trunk extension, and trunk flexion increased by 13% (p<0.01), 155% (p<0.001), 188% (p<0.001), and 14% (p<0.05), respectively. Absolute and relative maximal oxygen uptake increased by 7% and 6%, respectively (p<0.01). These findings indicate that regular hatha yoga practice can elicit improvements in the health-related aspects of physical fitness."
TY - JOUR
AU - Tran, M. D.
AU - Holly, R. G.
AU - Lashbrook, J.
AU - Amsterdam, E. A.
TI - Effects of Hatha Yoga Practice on the Health-Related Aspects of Physical Fitness
JO - Preventive Cardiology
VL - 4
IS - 4
PB - CHF, Inc.
SN - 1751-7141
UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1520-037X.2001.00542.x
DO - 10.1111/j.1520-037X.2001.00542.x
SP - 165
EP - 170
PY - 2001)
As you can see by this study, the strength and endurance gained by yoga, particularly with our muscles, is very significant.
I have not taken up yoga - something I keep telling myself I'll do. Now I have yet another reason.
Does anyone else take yoga? Have you noticed a benefit to your muscles? I love to hear from you!