By Betty Murray
Yoga is considered by many to be a stress reducer and means of promoting peace and serenity, but in addition to the mental and emotional benefits of yoga, there are numerous physical benefits of regular yoga practice. There is still room for growth in the area of scientific research to prove the physical and health benefits of yoga, but here are nine benefits of yoga that research has found:
- Reduce risk of heart disease — Harvard Health Publications reports that yoga can lower cardiac risk factors including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar.
- Promote a healthy weight — A study of 15,000 healthy adults found a link between regular yoga practice and decreased (or at least maintained) body weight.
- Increase bone density — A 2009 study found that practicing yoga can make bones stronger by increasing bone density.
- Lower blood sugar levels in diabetics — Reuters reported that three months of regular yoga practice decreases body mass and blood sugar in diabetics.
- Provide relief from chronic back and neck pain — Various research studies have found that yoga can provide relief for sufferers of chronic back or neck pain.
- Improved lung capacity — A 2000 study out of Ball State University found that consistent yoga practice over several weeks can increase vital lung capacity.
- Lower blood pressure — A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension reports that yoga can help decrease blood pressure in people with mild to moderate hypertension.
- Increase flexibility — A Colorado State University study found that a form of hot yoga, Bikram yoga, can increase strength and flexibility.
- Better sleep — A study out of Harvard found that yoga practice can improve both quality and quantity of sleep.
If you are unfamiliar with yoga, there are several yoga studios in the Dallas area that offer beginner classes. Take time to build yoga into your daily exercise routine and you will undoubtedly notice the physical benefits. You may even notice mental benefits, such as reduced stress level and improved mood.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.