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Many yoga enthusiasts swear by this form of exercise over going to a gym as the best way to stay in shape and lead a healthy lifestyle. Yoga has proven its benefits with weight loss, muscle definition, and keeping a healthy mind and body. For years people have endorsed cardio as the best way to lose weight and get healthy, however that may no longer be the case. Yoga may be more beneficial than a workout done at the gym.
More and more research is coming out on how yoga is actually the best fitness program for people. Yoga can improve sleep patterns, flexibility, muscle definition, and of course be a very significant aid in weight loss. A study conducted by the University of Maryland School of Nursing tested the results of yoga compared to aerobic training. The health benefits of both exercises were examined and one area that yoga was significantly stronger in was being an excellent stress reliever. In addition to relieving stress, yoga also outperformed aerobic exercise in fields like strength, flexibility, balance, and daily energy levels.
The reason yoga is dismissed as a good exercise is because people do not consider it rigorous enough as it consists of mostly stretching. However, yoga is more than just stretching and is a great way to provide meditation as well as exercise. Yoga’s benefits of reducing stress lead to better diets. Research has shown that high levels of stress cause changes in food behavior. This could mean stress can make a person reach for sugary snack, eat more, or eat less, all of which are not good for a healthy diet. Yoga provides exercise for the body and mind and will therefore help a person lead an overall healthier lifestyle in every sense. Regular yoga practice has been linked to better diets due to the awareness that yoga causes. Practicing yoga helps create more of a physical and emotional awareness, resulting in the person being more aware of his or her emotions and choosing the appropriate foods to match those. The ability to be more in tune with emotions and therefore understand what the body wants is one reason why yoga may have more health benefits than a gym.
The practice of yoga can help the mind and body in a physical and emotional way and lead to much greater strength and flexibility. Yoga is a mind-body exercise, and research shows mind-body workouts as better for controlling weight, reducing blood pressure, reducing stress, and improving a person’s sleep patterns. In a study that lasted three months, participants that did yoga lowered their bad cholesterol levels as well as their triglycerides. Kevin Chen, the associate professor in the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, explained how yoga movements and positions strengthen the body and improve flexibility by moving the body in a way that allows the person to focus on his or her mind.
In addition to reducing stress, helping with weight loss, and improving sleep, yoga has a number of other health benefits as well. Practicing yoga has been proven to boost immunity. Yoga exercise causes a change in gene expression and this in turn boosts immunity in the cells. Yoga also helps to boost immunity by improving health overall. Yoga helps a person breathe better and that causes stronger circulation which helps the body’s organs function more properly.
Yoga also has been shown to help those that suffer from migraines. Studies’ results show how those who suffered from migraines and then did yoga had fewer and less painful migraines after three months of practicing yoga. Studies on yoga have also discovered that this form of exercise can improve sexual desire and performance. The moves in yoga help blood flow increase in genital areas, which is beneficial for arousal. The breathing practices as well as the controlling of the mind also have been proven to enhance performance.
Yoga has been practiced for many years in places all over the world. It is a spiritual exercise that allows the person to be one with his or her body. Yoga helps the mind and body find inner peace as well as the ability to lead a healthier lifestyle. The benefits of yoga may improve the quality of life more than any other workout, proving that being healthy does not necessarily mean going to a gym.
Opinion by Amena S. Chaudhri