Is Yoga Enough of a "Workout" to Improve Fitness?
Updated: Dec 11, 2019
Ever wonder whether a gentle, accessible yoga class would be "enough" to help improve your fitness?
It's been commonly held belief for years that, in order to be healthy, you need to "workout" at 70-85% of your maximum heart rate.
Interesting that NOW experts are saying you don’t actually need to sweat, huff & puff at 70-85% of your maximum heart rate to gain healthy benefits. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans on health.gov suggests adults need at least 150 minutes of moderately-intense activity weekly. And it doesn’t have to happen all in one in day. In fact, it’s better to be active in shorter bouts (as little as 10 minutes at a time) spread out over the whole week than doing it all at once.
Further, they suggest increasing physical activity gradually. First, “start low and go slow” with lower intensity activities. Then gradually, over time, increase how often and how long activities are done. So, taking a walk, or a gentle yoga class with appropriate movement fits the bill, without having to risk injury or over-do it.
So, what kind of benefits are we talking? Health.gov sites research that physical activity helps prevent eight types of cancer and reduces risk of dementia (including Alzheimer’s), heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, depression and weight-gain. And, new evidence suggests that sufficient activity can have immediate benefit, including reduced anxiety, reduced blood pressure, improved sleep and even insulin resistance. That’s enough for me to get moving, how ‘bout you?
My experience is that moderately paced activity (rather than huffing and puffing) is very effective – and, even better… it feels right, not painful or straining. A few years back, after I traded running on the treadmill for outdoor walks and a gentle yoga practice, I was amazed how staying fit became so much easier, without the on-again, off-again “dieting” cycle.
And my yoga students have remarkable results too. After a year of gentle yoga just once a week, a student of mine completely reversed all symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome that had worsened for years (despite previous rigorous exercise). If you aren’t familiar with the term, Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of conditions that increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In the U.S., 1 out of 3 adults have it. Many don’t even know it.
The doctor of another of my once-a-week yoga students actually – unexpectedly - reduced the student’s diabetes medication. And when the doctor asked, what are you doing differently? The answer was “I started a weekly yoga class”. And the doctor said “Keep doing yoga”.
Of course, yoga isn't one size fits all (for benefits either). Your mileage may vary. There's only one way to find out.
What are you waiting for? Let's see what yoga can do for you!
One of our NEW classes ~ Fit & Flexible ~ is specifically designed to incorporate all key aspects of fitness for busy people who are new to yoga and want to feel FIT and FANTASTIC for the busy holidays ahead.
If you like what you’re hearing, but don’t do yoga yet… please join us!
I’ve been teaching yoga from my cozy home studio in Eagan since 2016. Before coming here, most of my students (1) had NEVER tried yoga or (2) tried it in a crowded class, found it too hard to keep up (or super confusing) and never went back. Things are different here.
Your Time Yoga is a right-sized home studio with small classes so YOU get personalized
attention. Yoga isn’t meant to be “one size fits all”. Limitations with your back, shoulder, knees, hips, wrists? Struggling with balance or flexibility? No worries! We use chairs, bolsters, blocks… to fit the yoga your unique anatomy and abilities, safely, without strain