5 Reasons to Add Yoga to Your Workout Routine

Fitness Tips

5 Reasons to Add Yoga to Your Workout Routine

Yoga is an ancient discipline that was practiced in India for thousands of years before it was brought to the West.

Scientific researchers have only more recently begun to prove claims about yoga's beneficial properties. Even if you don't have much time to spare, doing yoga for even only a few minutes makes a difference. Check out these 5 reasons to make it a part of your workout routine.

1. Yoga Keeps Your Body Looking and Feeling Young

Yoga teacher Sadie Nardini attributes her fit body to her practice of yoga and says most people think she's younger than she is. Yoga also keeps your body functioning like it actually is younger.

study conducted by Dr. Dean Ornish shows that unhealthy lifestyle choices are linked with shorter telomeres. Telomeres are the structures at the end of our chromosomes that prevent them from deteriorating. Telomeres also enable cells to divide, and they get shorter as you age. Practicing yoga has been attributed to longer telomeres.

2. Yoga Helps with Stress and Anxiety

Yoga plays a part in both physical and mental well-being.

This study from the Boston University Medical School shows yoga is associated with an increase of GABA, the neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety. The Huffington Post reported that multiple studies have also linked yoga with better sleep. Yoga has a calming effect on brain waves that can prevent insomnia, which is often the result of the mind racing because of stress.

3. Yoga Tones Your Entire Body

Other exercises such as running and cycling involve repetitive motions that put stress on your muscles. According to personal trainer Kelly Turner, traditional weight training isolates one part of the body at a time, but yoga is about exercising the whole body. Many people don't realize that you can build muscle without lifting weights. However, when you hold a yoga pose, you are lifting your own body weight.

4. Yoga Limits Aches and Pains

When you don't use your muscles and joints, they become more susceptible to aches and pains. Yoga uses muscles that most people would otherwise neglect and therefore helps with pain.

It encourages better posture, and poor posture is a major contribution to back pain. Patients suffering from chronic pain conditions like osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia are able to find relief from yoga while other exercises can harm their bodies.

5. Yoga Aids Weight Loss

Timothy McCall, M.D. recommends yoga for many reasons, and one is its ability to promote weight loss.

Yoga not only reduces LDL, which is known as the "bad" cholesterol, but it increases HDL, which is the "good" cholesterol. Yoga also contributes to lower blood sugar and is especially recommended for people with diabetes. This makes yoga a great addition to any weight loss regimen. The motions of yoga burn calories, but knowing the ways yoga helps your body can inspire you to eat a healthier diet.