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Yoga – The Best Exercise You Haven't Tried

Yoga just may be the best exercise you haven’t tried.

A study in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that only 7.5 percent of adults have tried yoga, but many more could benefit.

“Yoga can take many forms for many different people,” said Joann Markham, ACSM-CPT, of SamFit in Albany. “Gentle forms of Hatha yoga focus on stretching and staying limber which is great for beginners or seniors who want to maintain their activity level and balance, and can progress to advanced poses that test the physical and psychological strength of the student.”

Yoga, Markham reports, has something for athletes, new moms, middle-aged dads and senior citizens.

“Flexibility, balance, strength, peace — these things are often missing in our lives,” said Markham. “Yoga is just a training ground. 

The Journal of Alternative Medicine published a review of 81 scientific studies indicating that yoga “may be as effective or better than exercise” at improving health concerns such as blood glucose levels, blood lipids, fatigue, pain and sleep disturbance. According to Markham, yoga helps lower blood pressure and resting heart rate so that the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump the blood throughout our bodies.

“Lung capacity also increases  because breathing is a focal point of doing yoga,” said Markham. “Individuals who have suffered a stroke, have multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s can also benefit.”

The American College of Physicians even included yoga as an effective treatment in its updated chronic low back pain recommendations.

“Yoga doesn’t replace other forms of exercise, but it’s a great complement to a well-rounded regimen,” said Markham. “Regardless of age or athleticism, there’s a yoga practice out there for you.”

Ready to try something new? Join a SamFit in Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon or Newport and explore the world of yoga.