Hi YOGO supporters. Yoga’s health benefits are well documented and go way beyond esoteric energetic alignment. According to a new study, unsurprisingly, exercise appears to reduce the risk of diabetes, but here’s the interesting news: yoga counts as much as cardiovascular exercise. In a recent study based on data from 100,000 women, strength building exercise was found to reduce the risk of diabetes as much as cardio exercises like running. That's a pretty amazing health benefit.
Other studies have also shown yoga to have a similar effect on the body as cardiovascular exercise: lowering the resting heart rate, increasing endurance, and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.
Yoga’s list of concrete health benefits is pretty astounding (you may want to sit down for this):
- Improved flexibility leading to less pain.
Stronger muscles - balanced by improved flexibility.
- Improved lung capacity leads to better endurance and performance.
- Improved uptake of oxygen gives an anti-oxidant and anti-aging effect even for pranayama yoga (non-cardio) practitioners.
- Better core strength leading to better posture.
- Supple joints and spine. Stretching nourishes cartilage by circulating its fluids which carry nutrients. This makes it healthier and fights off arthritis.
- Yoga promotes lymph drainage (a body fluid) which helps fight infection, destroy cancer and dispose of toxins.
Lower blood pressure even through gentle yoga.
Lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that weakens the immune system, causes osteoporosis and over-eating, abdominal weight gain and higher risk of diabetes and heart attack.
- It fights depression. Sustained yoga leads to higher levels of serotonin and and a serotonin-absorbing enzyme (monoamine oxidase).
- Can alleviate chronic conditions like depression, anxiety and insomnia.
Lowers blood sugar and bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol.
If yoga came in a pill it would fly off shelves.
Sources: Yoga Journal, Mayo Clinic, Yoga Health Foundation
Photo: Jeanette Pearson