Seems like it is tough to find extra time these days… with a demanding work schedule, family obligations, and an active social calendar, who has time for the gym?
Where do you find the energy for that matter?
We have all been there…
Sadly, there have been some recent health scares in my family. I won’t bore you with the details, but they have been rather eye opening (to say the least).
As a result, I have a renewed focus on improving my health and fitness in 2019… and naturally, I would like to share any useful tips and tricks with my community of family and friends in hopes they will want to do the same.
For those of you who struggle to find the time, energy, or motivation to go to the gym… Here’s some GOOD news!
You can improve your health and fitness in just 10-20 minutes per day and in the comfort of your own home.
Yes… I said Yoga (Easy with the eye rolls guys and gals – there are some incredible benefits).
So, what is Yoga?
Yoga is a spiritual and ascetic discipline, which includes breath control, simple meditation, and specific body postures. It is widely practiced for health and relaxation.
The beauty of yoga is that it not only has substantial health benefits, but it can be done in your home, you only need 10-20 minutes of free time, and you can practice at virtually any level of expertise (beginner or expert… makes no difference).
I stumbled across yoga because I wanted to find ways to promote my overall health, gain mental clarity, and improve focus.
Surprise, surprise… Yoga does all of that and more.
Regardless of your motivation for getting started, a little research will show you that there are several benefits of the practice.
Here are 5 of my favorite benefits of yoga that came directly from yogajournal.com
1. Perfects posture
Your head is like a bowling ball—big, round, and heavy. When it’s balanced directly over an erect spine, it takes much less work for your neck and back muscles to support it.
Move it several inches forward, however, and you start to strain those muscles. Hold up that forward-leaning bowling ball for eight or 12 hours a day and it’s no wonder you’re tired. And fatigue might not be your only problem.
Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. As you slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine
2. Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown
Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used.
Joint cartilage is like a sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up. Without proper sustenance, neglected areas of cartilage can eventually wear out, exposing the underlying bone like worn-out brake pads.
3. Increases your blood flow
Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet.
Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result. Twisting poses are thought to wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is released.
Inverted poses, such as Headstand, Handstand, and Shoulderstand, encourage venous blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart, where it can be pumped to the lungs to be freshly oxygenated. This can help if you have swelling in your legs from heart or kidney problems.
Yoga also boosts levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues. And it thins the blood by making platelets less sticky and by cutting the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes since blood clots are often the cause of these killers.
4. Drains your lymphs and boosts immunity
When you contract and stretch muscles, move organs around, and come in and out of yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.
5. Drops your blood pressure
If you’ve got high blood pressure, you might benefit from yoga. Two studies of people with hypertension, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, compared the effects of Savasana (Corpse Pose) with simply lying on a couch.
After three months, Savasana was associated with a 26-point drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and a 15-point drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number—and the higher the initial blood pressure, the bigger the drop.
If you would like to read about additional benefits, the Yoga Journal provides an extensive list and tons of cool resources to help get you started.
Check out a list of 38 benefits HERE.
At the end of the day, we only have one body and one mind… it is important to invest time and energy caring for our mental and physical well being.
Instead of sitting on the couch and binge watching Netflix (we’ve all done it), consider stretching out for 10-20 minutes on the floor (even while you watch TV if you really want).
It is a minimal time commitment and it does not take an incredible amount of physical energy to get started. In fact, it can be very relaxing.
Want to get started?
Check out some videos on YouTube. “Yoga with Adriene” has a great beginners guide. View it HERE.
Wishing you all the best in 2019! Be well!
All the best!
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