Yoga for Strength Training and Flexibility

One of the greatest benefits of blogging about my journey towards health and fitness is I get to meet and connect with some amazing people. People from all over the world, all types of backgrounds, education, perspectives and experiences. It was an aspect that I never considered or imagined when I began blogging regularly after Scotty’s colon cancer diagnosis.  So- from time to time, I am going to invite guests to contribute to and have them write about aspects of health and fitness.  It really does takes a community of fit-minded, healthy people to help reignite and/or solidify your commitment to your journey. So thank you to my first guest blogger – Maria Rainier!

Yoga for Strength Training and Flexibility

Yoga may conjure up images of “ohm” chanting, legging wearing, hippies with long hair and sleepy voices. However, regular practice can help build muscle, reduce the risk of injury, and improve flexibility. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all types can find benefits in incorporating a yoga routine into their regular workout schedule.

It Helps Build Muscle

For those who want to bulk up and add a great deal of muscle, weight lifting will be best. However, regular yoga practice can create a strong, toned physique through resistance training. Many of the poses work against your own body weight, thereby building muscle. The poses also incorporate a number of muscle groups and supporting muscles, in much the same way that a free-weight routine does. Not only are you building strength, but you are activating more muscles and for a longer period of time.

It Helps Reduce Injury

Because yoga incorporates a wide range of muscle groups and supporting muscles, it strengthens and tones the whole body, reducing the risk of injury. Many strength-training routines tend to focus on “mirror muscles” such as the biceps, chest, abs, and thighs. This can lead to imbalances, leading to spinal misalignment. Yoga helps to strengthen the total body, leading to better posture, better range of motion, and greater endurance, leading to less chance of injury.

It Helps Improve Your Next Workout

Because yoga helps improve your total endurance, it can improve your next workout – be it strength training or cardio. A typical strength-training set may include 10-12 reps, lasting a few seconds each. Yoga poses are held for several minutes each, some as much as five or 10 minutes. This will improve your muscular endurance and overall stamina.

It Helps Speed Recovery

Yoga helps improve blood flow and oxygen to your muscles, flushing out lactic acid and other waste buildup, and speeding recovery time. It also helps to relieve sore and tired muscles, providing a gentle stretch that counteracts the contraction of the muscles. The soothing movement also helps reduce inflammation in the muscle, which helps improve overall balance throughout the body.

It Increases Flexibility

Of course, one of the most known benefits of yoga practice is that it helps you build flexibility. For those who strength train regularly, increased flexibility means greater range of motion, and that means the ability to push yourself further and a reduced risk of injury.

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online degree programs, and what it takes to succeed as a remote student in online schools. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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