It may seem like everyone from your favorite celebrities to your mail carrier, and your mother-in-law has probably tried yoga but is it a good workout option? For many old-school gym members, yoga may seem like a hippy-dippy idea that is good for stretching or warming up before a “real” workout and nothing more. But in reality, the benefits of yoga are much more than you may think. Taking a yoga class or two can step up your fitness game and help you build lean muscle.
What are the Benefits of Yoga?
1) Weight Loss
If you’re looking for a good workout to help burn fat, yoga can easily be paired with cardio and resistance training to get you there. Studies show that yoga can contribute to lower cholesterol and blood pressure —both often linked to obesity and weight-related issues. Looking for a way to burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time? Then sign-up for a power yoga class and you can burn up to 300 calories per hour!
2) Mental Strength
While you are free to be OCD about lining up your yoga mat to the grooves in the wood floor, yoga is a great option for staying centered. Getting into the class flow can help relieve stress, lower your anxiety levels, treat insomnia and strengthen your focus. While you may never reach Buddha-like meditation levels, the benefits of yoga can help keep you cool, calm and collected in your day-to-day life.
3) Physical Strength
If you’ve ever peeked in on a yoga class at the gym, you may have seen people standing on their heads or twisting their bodies into ornate shapes, which both require a great deal of strength. If you are one of the millions of gym-going Americans out there who is struggling to get rid of stubborn belly fat, yoga is perfect for building a strong core. Yoga is the perfect workout option for building muscular stability, endurance and a strong foundation.
Whether you’re starting to feel the first few pangs of arthritis or you’ve simply noticed that you aren’t as limber as you once were, yoga can dramatically improve your overall flexibility. With greater flexibility, you may just find that your other exercises at the gym are much easier to accomplish.
5) Sleep Better
Getting enough sleep is an important part of your overall health and fitness routine and has even been linked to burning more fat. Research shows that the more you do yoga, the better your sleep quality. The breathing exercises and mental strength training you’ll learn during the average 8-week yoga course are ideal for slowing your mind down (even if you are having a hard time breaking up with coffee) and can help you sleep more soundly.