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Our muscles are so important! They allow us movement and give our bodies strength and power. When we build strong muscles, we increase our over-all health and quality of life. When our muscles are damaged or debilitated, we need to strengthen their power to regain our ability to move and use force. All kinds of strains, pulls, or muscle conditions can weaken our muscles. Join us as we talk about how to strengthen our bodies and help find solutions to the issues that suround damaged or weakened muscles.

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How Yoga Can Help Your Muscles

By Susan Cody HERWriter Guide Leader September 22, 2010 - 9:27am

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."

(Citation:
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!
~Susan

By roxygirl15 December 1, 2010 - 1:15pm

Thank you so much for your comment. That is some very good advice, because I just don't know what to say half the time. I emphasize working out to everyone who asks for my help. Women are afraid to work out with me for fear they may grow huge muscles. Honestly, most women would need steroids to get this way. Its in my genetic make-up, whether its hereditary or a hormone issue is still to be determined. I did the wrong thing for a while, and stopped lifting for a long period of time (which I don't reccomend to anyone). Would you believe that I didn't get any smaller? Well......its nice to get a woman's perspective on this. Once again, I am a personal trainor and competitor, so if anyone on this thread needs some tips........feel free to ask. Thanks again!

December 1, 2010 - 1:15pm
By Susan Cody HERWriter Guide Leader November 30, 2010 - 3:18pm

Hi Roxygirl,

Thanks for your question!

You can do is ignore the nasty comments. People will comment on anything. If you were too thin, too fat, too white, too black...if you have lots of muscle tone or hardly any at all...people will comment!

You can also respond to the comment! Keep it intelligent because it'll leave the commentators nothing to smart mouth about. "I enjoy working out my body. Does this upset you?" "I may have some muscles but I'm all woman! Why did you make that comment?" and literally leave them to answer a real and intelligent question. Doing this is so much better than some smart-assed comment that'll just end up with insults back and forth. You'll also show you have strong brains to match your body, and people will love you for it!

Seriously - in the western world we're dropping like flies due to lack of exercise and enormous body weights that our hearts cannot handle. So the fact that you take the time to take care of yourself shows self-respect. I doubt you are making smart comments to very heavy women wearing spandex and belly tops so people need to show you the same courtesy. People can think what they want but need to have enough class to keep their thoughts "indoors".

If you personally feel unhappy in your dresses, try dresses with sleeves or pretty bell sleeves. You can choose dresses that lesson the focus on arms and shoulders and more on what I assume is your great flat and fabulous 6-pack! Sweetheart necklines are also flattering.

I wish you the best and stand strong against the comments. Just keep it classy and smart and you'll be more of a woman that anyone who tries to put you down over your body.

I wish you the best,
~Susan

November 30, 2010 - 3:18pm
By roxygirl15 November 30, 2010 - 1:33pm

I have never done yoga, but I know that it is very beneficial. I am a personal trainor as well as a figure/bodybuiling competitor. Anything that improves your flexiblity and core strength is a great tool to improve your overall physical fitness. I have another problem I would like some input on. I am 29 years old, and I have been lifting weights since I was 12. I have had larger than normal mucscles for a woman since highschool. While some people think it is a great thing, they don't hear the nasty comments from others. A lot of people accuse me of being on steroids, which I am not. I feel great in the gym, but in public, I feel like a freak. When I wear dresses, I feel like a man wearing woman's clothing. I know there are worse problems, but this one has been bothering me for a while. I do bodybuilding because I fit in. Please......give me your thoughts.

November 30, 2010 - 1:33pm