Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog


Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Oct 18, 2013 @ 11:53 AM

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How balanced is your fitness routine? If you do high-intensity workouts,
your body needs time to rest and recover between challenging sessions, yet it’s
important to still stay active. That’s where a relaxing yoga routine comes in.
A yoga workout is a way to stay active on a recovery day and it offers other
benefits as well.

Benefits of Yoga: It Helps to Lengthen Your Muscles

Doing high-intensity workouts causes high volumes of neural discharge. This
can increase the resting tone of your muscles after your workout is finished,
leading to muscle tightness and stiffness. Yoga helps to elongate the muscles
and relieve tightness. When one muscle group is tight it can affect the
performance of other muscles and increase the risk for injury. Yoga also
stretches and lengthens your spine and that helps to improve your posture. If
you sit hunched over at a desk all day, yoga helps reduce the risk of back and
neck pain by stretching and lengthening your spine and adjacent muscles.

Yoga is Good Mood Therapy

All forms of exercise help to relieve stress but, according to one study,
yoga may offer more mood-enhancing benefits than other forms of exercise.
According to a study carried out by Boston University School of Medicine, yoga
increases levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA that helps to ease symptoms
of stress. Higher GABA levels are linked with improvements in mood and a reduction
in anxiety. So convincing were the results that the researchers believe yoga
could help treat certain mood disorders including anxiety and depression. Yoga
has the power to alter neurotransmitters and brain pathways in much the same
way as medications used to treat mood disturbances and its 100% natural. Other
research shows yoga may be helpful for improving sleep quality in people with
chronic insomnia.

Improvements in Flexibility and Balance

The benefits of a yoga workout can transfer over into other parts of your
life. Yoga boosts muscle flexibility and works balance, both of which can
improve functional capabilities. When you’re more flexible, it reduces your
risk of injury by allowing your joints to move through their full range of
motion. Being flexible can help you perform better in certain sports as well.

Balance is another issue that becomes more important as we age. It’s loss
of muscle strength and age-related balance issues that cause older people to
become frail or suffer a fall. Research shows yoga improves balance and
postural stability and even helps stroke victims regain confidence and
functional capacity by improving their sense of balance.

Greater Body Awareness

Yoga teaches you to live in the moment and be more centered and focused. That
can help you be more aware and focused in other aspects of your life. There’s
even evidence that it helps to manage pain, especially back pain and, possibly,
arthritis pain and stiffness. It’s a workout that’s as good for your mind as it
is for your body.

 The Bottom Line?

Adding a relaxing yoga workout to your fitness routine can make it more
balanced and help with recovery from higher intensity exercise, both mentally
and physically. The benefits you get from yoga will transfer over into other
areas of your life by increasing flexibility and balance and giving you greater
functional capacity. It’s also the ultimate stress reliever. See what it can do
for you!

For more great fit tips, contact our fitness director/personal trainer,
Noelle Lusardi, at


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