Two Health Goals Yoga Achieves Over Gym Fitness

With the start of the New Year, many people set fitness goals. Losing weight is a common goal. There are four dimensions of fitness to aim for. Gym attendance coupled with regular Yoga practice can help meet them all.

One New Year resolution is predictable – to lose weight. Although a great aspiration, losing weight is part of shift in focus to becoming healthier. Becoming health involves good physical activity, nutrition and sleep.

Unfortunately, you often hear the approach to physical activity as “hitting the gym”. You see people cram into the fitness gym in January trying to “get buff”. Their attendance wanes as they experience soreness or injuries from jarring their bodies to hard or they are not seeing instant results.

Adopting a good physical activity regime is a noble goal that is achieved over time in four dimensions.

Endurance: Getting a good cardiac workout is important. Since many of us spend most of the day at a desk – getting your heart pumping and breathing a little heavier activates your body. The increase in metabolism offers a weight losing boost when you are in your aerobic zone. You can achieve this on your favorite treadmill. You can also have an aerobic workout by doing flow yoga.

Strength: Using your muscles promotes a lean physique and also boosts your metabolism. I am not a fan of weight machines. They are optimized for a specific body size and only target a limited set of muscles. You get a better overall workout using dumbbells. Yoga is also great for targeting strength building. You can intensify your yoga session by incorporating dumbbells.

Flexibility: Being able to use your full range of motion is part of being healthy. Our daily jobs restrict our motion and immobilize our bodies. Typical gym fitness routines also use specific muscle groups while ignoring others. You hear of athletes being tight. Runners for example are fraught with stiff hamstrings. Yoga gives you a full body stretch to ensure you can move in every direction. It liberates your joints, tendons and muscles to keep supple.

Balance: This one dimension is ignored in many fitness routines. Having good balance, especially as you age, prevents injuries from falls. Falls are a major cause of preventable injuries. Yoga practice builds your ability to balance. Core muscles are engaged that promotes good posture. I am not talking about doing handstands. Simple exercises like Tree Pose and Warrior 3 are excellent ways to start increasing your balance.

Photo by C. W. Clark
Photo by C. W. Clark

By incorporating physical activities that address these four dimensions can assure you achieve a general fitness level that will improve your health. Both gym fitness routines and yoga can build strength and endurance. Your flexibility and balance can be improved by participating in Hatha Yoga classes.

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