One of the reasons that attracts thousands of people towards the practice of yoga year after year are the numerous physical benefits that this ancient discipline provides. Many of the benefits that yoga gives us are supported by scientific studies and, consequently, doctors and therapists from various disciplines recommend a regular and progressive practice, adapted to each person and each moment of their life.
Obviously, yoga is not a magic potion or the solution to all our health problems, but there is a general consensus about its positive effects on the human organism, which contribute to our attaining higher quality and life expectancy. Here are some of the most important ones:
Strengthens muscles and bones
Yoga helps strengthen muscles but prevents lactic acid from building up in the body and does not reduce flexibility. Having a defined musculature protects bones, prevents injuries and prevents diseases such as arthritis.
As for the bones, it is shown that yoga helps to reinforce them and slows down the loss of bone mass. In addition, it is essential to prevent injuries and fractures. Yoga also improves body posture, which directly affects the health of the spine.
Besides advancing in postures, flexibility helps us enormously to avoid injuries. When starting a yoga practice, the lack of flexibility is one of the aspects that causes most headaches in the practitioner, especially among men. But with consistency and by progressively increasing the presence in the postures, one will improve in a very remarkable way. As flexibility increases, many of the muscle aches caused by stress and poor posture disappear.
With a well-adapted practice, yoga is very effective in alleviating most chronic pain such as neck pain, rheumatoid arthritis, knee pain, low back pain, chronic back pain, sciatica or fibromyalgia, among others.
It keeps us young
There are recent studies that suggest that yoga and meditation can affect our DNA, protecting it from damage and also avoiding and reversing the negative changes that affect the aging process of the body, since it has a direct impact on the activity of the enzyme telomerase, key to protecting telomeres in every cell division. These benefits could also prevent cognitive decline related to age, especially when combined with meditation.
This is probably one of the benefits of yoga that most attracts the general audience. But beyond aesthetics, what interests us most is that in a healthy lifestyle it is important to maintain a body without overweight. Some researches have agreed that the practice of Vinyasa Yoga involves an average caloric expenditure of 7 kcal / min, which is equivalent to burning about 507 calories per hour.
Improves the breath
One of the most fundamental points of yoga is that it teaches us how to breathe, more than correctly, in a conscious way. Without counting the diverse techniques that the pranayama presents, the practice of asanas alone already implies a permanent control of the breath and, consequently, a substantial improvement in the oxygenation of the whole organism. The breath known as abdominal or diaphragmatic, which in the inspiration begins in the abdomen to continue in the intercostal area and ends in the collarbone, and in the expiration follows the reverse path, increases the oxygenation of the cells. In addition, breathing deeply and at a leisurely pace slows the heart rate and relaxes the muscles.
Strengthens the immune system and balances the nervous system
Yoga helps to reduce the level of cortisol, the hormone related to stress, which as we know is intimately linked to health problems of all kinds. By directly influencing this hormone, the practice of yoga increases our resistance to diseases and infections.
One of the secrets of Yoga documented in numerous studies is that, by combining dynamic postures with relaxation, it is much more effective as a tool to combat stress than any relaxation exercise that is not accompanied by any other dynamic practice. In this way, it is also possible to maintain a balance in the nervous system.
Promotes cardiovascular health
Several studies argue that yoga fights hypertension and reduces cholesterol levels in the blood, which in the long run decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also lowers the accumulation of fat in the arteries and reduces the blood concentration of interleukin-6, a molecule linked to the body’s inflammatory response and which seems to be involved in heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and other pathologies.
Improves mood in cancer patients
Although there are not enough studies that demonstrate a conclusive impact of yoga on cancer patients, there is evidence that indicates that yoga can improve mood and reduce anxiety, depression or emotional stress, as well as relieve the nervousness of people with cancer. In addition, it can help reduce fatigue in patients with breast cancer and survivors.
For more detailed information, we recommend visiting the website of Dr. Timothy McCall, who specializes in explaining yoga as amedicine.