Living in the middle of a global pandemic has made people more conscious of their health. More people are taking extra measures to improve their health, such as drinking vitamins and other health supplements, and eating healthier. But these actions alone are not enough. Being physically active is also essential in boosting one’s health and immunity.
But staying active may be difficult. For example, many gyms are closed or have limited operation. Walking around the neighborhood is an option, but that means you’ll have to go out often.
One solution to this dilemma is yoga. It can be done indoors. It’s also not as physically taxing as other intensive activities, such as cardio workouts. Thus, this exercise is ideal for those who haven’t been active in a long while. But the best part about yoga is that it promotes holistic wellness. It not only benefits physical health but mental health, too. To learn more, let’s look at some benefits of regular yoga practice:
The current situation of the world can be stressful for anyone. Hearing news about the state of the global pandemic can induce stress. There are other alarming issues going on as well, such as global recession and climate change. If not controlled, stress can lead to anxiety and depression.
Yoga is a popular way to relieve stress. Yoga involves meditation and deep breathing exercises. And both promote relaxation and reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. For example, one study found that regular yoga practice can reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Pain Relief and Management
Yoga can be an effective complementary treatment for pain. This exercise involves stretching and breathing exercises that can help relax muscles all over your body. One meta-study concluded that yoga can be used in therapy to help people with chronic back pain. There is also evidence that yoga helps in treating rheumatoid arthritis and migraine.
Better Oral Health
One benefit of yoga that most people are unaware of is improved oral health. Yes, your teeth and gums benefit from regular yoga practice!
As mentioned earlier, yoga helps people relieve stress. This leads to decreased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which cause inflammation in the body including the gums. Thus, if you do yoga regularly, you will improve your gum health and reduce your risk of developing gum diseases. And on this note, yoga is especially helpful for people with dental braces since they’re the ones who have a high risk of developing gingivitis.
One common oral problem is bad breath, which is caused by dry mouth. Yoga can address this as well since it promotes saliva production.
More people are now at risk of excess weight gain and obesity due to limited movement. Obesity is a serious global problem. In 2016, over 650 million adults were obese while 1.9 million adults were overweight. Obesity weakens the immune system and puts people at risk of several diseases, including COVID-19.
Thus, weight management is very important. Yoga is a great way to do this. Frankly, it’s not as effective in calorie burning as aerobic exercises. But yoga works differently. For example, regular practice can improve your metabolism, which is important in weight management. Yoga is also a gateway to more intensive exercises. The more you practice yoga, the more you’ll be inclined to engage in other forms of exercise.
Yoga also promotes healthy eating habits. If you do it regularly, you will be more motivated to choose healthy foods and reduce fast food consumption and sugary drinks, which contribute to excess weight gain.
Adequate sleep is important for holistic wellness. But good quality sleep may be elusive during the pandemic due to several factors. For instance, if you’re in front of a screen all day, whether your phone or computer, you might not get be able to sleep immediately since the blue light in screens suppresses melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. The stress brought by the uncertainty in this pandemic can also mess with your sleep patterns.
You can use yoga to improve your sleep. Since it can help you relax, yoga can potentially improve the quality of your sleep. This is proven by a survey where 55% of respondents reported that their sleep improved due to yoga practice.
If you want to leave your sedentary lifestyle behind and become more active, you can add yoga to your daily routine. There are many video tutorials online that you can follow. But remember that if you haven’t been active at all, you need to take things slow at the beginning. With regular practice, you’ll be able to enjoy the many benefits of yoga.