Aerobic exercise has long been lauded to improve health. Health specialists encourage any activity that will get you breathing faster and more deeply as well as increase your heart rate. A new study shows that yoga is equally good at achieving aerobic fitness levels as regular aerobic exercise programs.
During aerobic activity, you repeatedly move large muscles in your arms, legs and hips. You breathe faster and more deeply. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood. Your heart beats faster, which increases blood flow to your muscles and back to your lungs.
The Mayo Clinic says that regardless of age, weight or athletic ability, aerobic activity will make you stronger and fitter.
They state that the following 10 ways that aerobic activity can help you:
- Keep excess pounds at bay
- Increase your stamina.
- Ward off viral illnesses
- Reduce your health risks for obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, stroke and certain types of cancer. Weight-bearing aerobic exercises, such as walking, reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Manage chronic conditions by lowering blood pressure and control blood sugar.
- Strengthen your heart
- Keep your arteries clear
- Boost your mood in easing the gloominess of depression, reduce the tension associated with anxiety and promote relaxation.
- Stay active and independent as you age by keeping your muscles strong, to maintain mobility as you get older.
- Live longer
When you think of aerobic exercise activities like walking, running, cross-country skiing, aerobic dancing, swimming, stair climbing, bicycling, jogging, elliptical training or rowing. However not everyone can do these because of conditions that limit your ability to participate in them.
A new study examined the effects of yoga and aerobic training on aerobic functions in untrained women.
In this eight week research, three groups of untrained women with mean age of 26 years were asked to be a either a do nothing control group, or participate in aerobic exercise for one hour three times a week (10 min warm-up, 40 min aerobics, 10 min cool down), or be in a yoga group who practiced for one hours three times a week (10 min breathing, 40 min poses, 10 min resting in corpse pose).
It was found that for both the aerobic exercise and yoga groups, there was similar improvement in aerobic measurements over the do nothing control group. Both the aerobic and yoga groups had improved fitness from baseline fair to average levels compared to the no improvement noted in the do nothing control group.
It must be kept in mind that to achieve improvements in cardiovascular fitness, you must engage in an activity 3-5 times per week for 20-60 minutes where you elevate your breathing and heart rate.
This study demonstrates that yoga is a valid activity that yields aerobic benefits equal to an aerobic exercise program. It is one more option to improve fitness… one that is accessible to everyone.