Named one of 2017’s top 10 fitness trends by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Yoga is an ancient discipline that is appropriate for people of all ages and abilities.
If you have not tried it yet, you are missing out! Here’s a closer look at five great reasons to sign up for a beginner yoga class.
1. Reduced stress levels
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Yoga,a mind-body practice,is considered one of many types of complementary and integrative health approaches. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines that may help you achieve peacefulness of body and mind. This can help you relax and manage stress and anxiety.”
How, specifically, does yoga impact stress levels? Explains Harvard Medical School, “By reducing perceived stress and anxiety, yoga appears to modulate stress response systems. This, in turn, decreases physiological arousal – for example, reducing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration. There is also evidence that yoga practices help increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress more flexibly.”
And because yoga classes are available for everyone from beginners to longtime practitioners, just about anyone can immediately begin reaping its stress-reducing benefits.
2. Enhanced fitness, flexibility and overall wellness
Think you’ve got to spend hours on a treadmill to improve your fitness? Think again. According to research published in Med Care, “Compared with usual care, yoga resulted in significant improvements in exercise capacity and a mean improvement in health related quality of life.”
These findings are echoed by research examining the therapeutic effects of yoga on quality of life published in the International Journal of Yoga: “Results from this study show that yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.”
That’s not all. The Mayo Clinic notes: “Classes also offer camaraderie and friendship, which are also important to overall well-being.”
3. Chronic disease management
With chronic diseases on the rise in the US, more people are turning to preventative measures. Yoga is an effective tool in this effort, according to the Mayo Clinic: “Yoga can help reduce risk factors for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Yoga might also help alleviate chronic conditions, such as depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia.”
A healthy diet, meanwhile, offers critical partnership in this endeavor. Our 12 Healthy Dessert Recipes offer a terrific starting point.
4. Decelerated or reversed cellular aging
There’s no such thing as the fountain of youth, but the latest research published in the academic journal, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, indicates that yoga and meditation-based lifestyle interventions may be the next best thing.
The study’s conclusion? “Making yoga and meditation an integral part of our lifestyle may hold the key to delay aging or aging gracefully, prevent onset of multifactorial complex lifestyle diseases, promote mental, physical, and reproductive health, and prolong youthful healthy life.”
5. Better cognitive function
Yes, you read that right. Not only can yoga make you less stressed, stronger, and more youthful, it can also make you smarter. According to researchers at Wayne State University as reported by the Daily Mail, sharper cognitive skills have been linked with just one 20-minute session of Hatha yoga.
Explains lead author Neha Gothe, “It appears that following yoga practice, the participants were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly, more accurately and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively than after performing an aerobic exercise bout.”
The best part? Yoga is considered extremely safe, especially under the guidance of a trained yoga instructor. The takeaway is clear if you are looking to boost your health, wellness and quality of life. If you haven’t yet tried a yoga class, what are you waiting for? To take a beginner yoga class and explore Brick Bodies’ comprehensive fitness programming, sign up for a trial pass today.