Men and Yoga
With the launch of our yoga program “Optimize Yoga” we wanted to take some time to dispel some of the misconceptions men have about yoga. Many think yoga is a lighter form of fitness that women mostly partake in. There is a recent study from Yoga Journal showing that men now make up 28% of the people taking classes. Below we will explain the benefits and how it can help your overall health and fitness as well as enhance your current workout or sport.
Bodybuilding or weightlifting tends to work at building muscles of specific body parts like chest, biceps, shoulders and quads. Yoga on the other hand builds muscles evenly over the whole body while increasing range of motion and flexibility. Normal workouts might ignore some muscle groups, specifically the stabilizers, while yoga is effective for overall muscle strengthening.
Many men know they have tight muscles, most often it’s the hamstrings, glutes, chest and shoulders. But they may not realize the limitations on their ability to properly strengthen muscles with this tightness. To fully strengthen muscle, they must go through full range of motion. The more you exercise through a limited range of motion, the more you limit the strength you gain. Yoga emphasizes movement that promotes full range of motion resulting in increased flexibility.
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Yoga increases mental focus, strength and flexibility. Better mental focus will help you identify the limits of your body and know when to lessen activity. Stronger stabilizer muscles will improve joint stability and more efficient movement patterns. Incorporating yoga with a dynamic warmup prior to exercising and as a cool down after exercising will prove beneficial. Muscles will heal and recover more quickly after working out if this active type of stretching is used.
Balance and Coordination
Balance and coordination are important factors in injury prevention. Challenging your body so it can handle unexpected changes in the environment and recover is important. Yoga emphasizes this through specific poses. Shifting outside your normal base of support and working on single leg poses is a great way to improve balance and coordination to prevent injury or falls.
Enhances overall health
Most physical activity is healthy but exercising at max level all the time will cause wear and tear on the body, specifically the joints. Your body needs time to recover. With a combination of high and low-level intensity exercise you will have better recovery. Yoga has also been shown to help or reduce pain associated with low back and shoulder issues. Healthy joints and decreased pain will allow you to exercise more effectively and keep you active longer.
Your body’s natural response to stress causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise. Yoga uses relaxation techniques that can make you calmer and less stressed. It also uses a combination of physical poses and controlled breathing designed to lower and regulate your heart rate. Decreasing stress will lower cortisol in the body and help you to burn fat easier. Not only are you feeling less stressed, you are getting more fit and tone as well.
Yoga has tremendous benefits to both women and men. It is a great way to enhance any exercise program and will provide you health benefits to keep you active. If you’re still not sure if yoga is right for you, just try one of our free yoga classes. You’ll learn a lot about yoga and feel the benefit right away.