Exercise is crucial to keep us strong and healthy – especially when it comes to our muscles, bones, and joints. Yoga is one of the best low-impact exercises out there, with a seemingly endless list of benefits. For over 5,000 years, yoga has been utilized as a way to improve and sustain both physical and mental health. Yoga can be adapted to fit your individual needs, and the intensity level varies based on the type of yoga. Here are some of our favorite yoga benefits:
Yoga involves many weight-bearing poses in which tension is applied to muscle and bone. This type of exercise is great for strengthening bones and improving bone density over time. In addition, weight-bearing exercise reduces the risk of fractures by improving muscle strength and balance, in turn helping to prevent falls. Many people who suffer from osteoarthritis, arthritis of the knee, or other joint pain find yoga to be a pain-free form of exercise that improves flexibility and function.
Most, if not all, of the postures and poses in a yoga practice involve many muscles in the body. As you work to hold and balance in these poses, the muscles around your joints are strengthened. As stronger muscles support the body, stress and strain on your joints is relieved. Many poses both stretch and strengthen the muscles, which can protect your joints, lower your risk of injury, and often delay or prevent arthritis.
Healthy bones and strong muscles make for happy joints. If your bones and your muscles are both strong, the stress and strain that causes pain will be taken off your joints. As your whole joint becomes stronger, your flexibility and range of motion will increase along with your stability. Staying active also keeps the cartilage in your joints healthy, which can be lost though immobilization.
When yoga is combined with treatment from your orthopedic surgeon or physiatrist, it can be a great choice for those struggling with joint pain and joint health. Be sure to practice more complex poses in moderation, and always choose a certified and knowledgeable instructor who will be able to suggest modified positions for any injuries.
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