Whether you’re a runner, weightlifter, or HIIT obsessed, including yoga in your weekly routine can balance out your workout regime. You don’t have to be super flexible or even knowledgeable about yoga to begin implementing it and reaping its benefits. Check out these five ways yoga can improve your overall fitness and take your workout to the next level.
Increased Energy Levels
“Yoga stretches and stimulates the muscles and organs of the body in a uniform manner. This allows increased blood flow to all parts of your body, which helps to flush out the toxins that can accumulate in your body’s tissues. Increased detoxification can increase your energy levels, making you more likely to follow an exercise program designed for weight loss.” FITDAY editor
How many times have you felt just too tired to stick with your workout program? Maybe you start something new at the beginning of the year, just to fizzle out and quit by February. It’s a common problem, but a simple solution is adding yoga into the mix. It could be just the thing to keep you going.
Better Muscle Function
“Getting in touch with your breath can help establish better breathing patterns and access parts of your respiratory system that you didn’t even know you could control. Get ready for more efficient oxygen intake, more complete exhalation, and better muscle function. Hello, gains. Goodbye muscle fatigue, symptoms of asthma, ragged breathing, and side stitches.” Brooke Roberts, Muscle & Fitness Magazine
While many people live by the “no pain, no gain” mantra, there might be a more effective way to boost muscle function and get more out of your workout. You guessed it, yoga! Regular deep breathing, especially when synced with physical movement, will have you reaping more benefits than you expected (you and your workouts!)
“In yoga, you learn to unite your body and mind. This allows you to move with ease and pay attention to how your body is feeling at all times, so you move in a way that feels good for you and not one that puts you in places your body doesn’t want to be. The result? An injury-free, strong, healthy, whole you.” Heidi Krisoffer, Shape Magazine
An injury can derail any workout regime and keep you out of the gym for weeks, if not months. Not only does yoga serve as a great way to recover from injury, but even better, it can help prevent injuries from occurring in the first place. Safe guard your workout and stay on track by avoiding common pitfalls and properly caring for your body with yoga.
“Balance may not seem like an important part of your workout, but it helps when it comes to keeping your body in the correct posture for any form of exercise. Nailing some of those precarious yoga poses will come in handy the next time you want to stay centered during a round of squats.” Teal Garth, The Path Magazine
When you consider all the physical activity your body has to go through in a given day, balance is something we often take for granted. Until, of course, we lose our balance and fall or slip or topple off the treadmill. Yoga helps you to stabilize and find your balance so that you can hang in there when the workout gets tough (without making a fool of yourself trying to get off the elliptical at the gym).
“Just like balance, flexibility is important with any type of exercise. Not only does yoga make you more flexible, it also gets you used to the habit of stretching before and after your workouts, which is really important to avoid sore, stiff muscles after the fact.” Teal Garth, The Path Magazine
Sometimes the day after a workout can be harder than the workout itself. Sore, tight muscles are rough to wake up to. Yoga is a great way to warm up and cool down after a work out to help prevent that dreaded day (or two) after pain. It can also help relieve some of that lingering soreness as time goes on, which can help you get on with your next workout that much quicker.
No matter what your exercise of choice is, the benefits of yoga can help boost it to the next level. You can incorporate a short yoga sequence before or after your workouts, or add a full practice into your weekly routine (or both). As yoga instructor Adriene Mishler says, a little goes a long way. You won’t need much before you start seeing the benefits, on and off the mat.
Do you practice yoga along with any other workout program? How have you seen it improve your fitness regime? Share in the comments below!