If this isn’t your second time hearing “Yoga,” you already know about its spiritual and mental benefits.
It’s a great way to keep you grounded and in touch with the people around you as well as your surroundings.
But when you hit your late 30s, 40s, up to your early 60s, do you know what you’d appreciate the most about doing yoga?
The flexibility that comes with it…
That rare, super-human ability to haul yourself out of bed and go about your daily routine with ease – like a champ.
If you’re still on the fence about starting yoga lessons or struggling to motivate yourself to perform your asana regularly, then these 7 physical benefits of yoga are for you.
7 Physical Benefits of Yoga That Lasts a lifetime.
1. Improved flexibility.
One of the most obvious benefits of yoga is an improvement in the flexibility of your body. When you first start yoga lessons, you likely won’t touch your toes comfortably, let alone do a backbend.
However, if you continue with your lessons you will gradually notice your muscles loosening, making it easier to perform poses that seemed impossible.
You’ll also notice fewer aches and pains in your body due to increased blood circulation.
2. Stronger Muscle Fibres.
Most adults start losing muscle mass around the 40-year mark. However, the rate it occurs depends on genetics and how you care for your body.
Loss of muscle mass often leaves senior citizens feeling weak and, if left unchecked, can lead to overdependence – sometimes a bit earlier than expected.
There’s good news though…
You can maintain your muscle mass by lifting weights, but that comes at the expense of flexibility.
Practising yoga regularly ensures that your muscles have the right amount of tension and are strong enough to support your movement.
Although this does not prevent muscle loss, it slows down the process and makes it easier to go about your daily routine even in old age.
3. Fewer Injuries.
The beauty of having strong muscles and a flexible body is that you’ll be able to withstand more physical stress.
This makes it easier to work on poses that help loosen the body, especially your hips.
Tight hips put a lot of strain on the knee joints due to the misalignment in the thigh and shin bones. And this is the leading cause of back pain as it forces the lumbar spine to compensate for the tightness.
Yoga helps balance out these muscles, thereby reducing the risk of getting injured while performing other physical activities.
4. Less Pain in Your Body.
It’s only natural for your body to feel better once you’ve worked on loosening and strengthening your muscles.
Loose but strong muscles mean that you’ll experience fewer aches and pains in your body and it makes you less likely to experience muscle cramps.
This is the number one reason the American College of Physicians recommends yoga as a first-line treatment for easing pain and improving mobility in people suffering from chronic lower back pain.
5. You’ll Easily Notice and Release Tension in Your Body.
Have you ever caught yourself holding the steering wheel or telephone with a death grip? Or staring at a computer screen with a slight frown?
These unconscious habits often lead to muscle fatigues, chronic tension, and soreness in the face, neck, shoulders, arms, and wrist. Not only does this worsen your mood and increase stress in your body, but it can also affect your relationship with the people around you.
After a few weeks of yoga classes, you will start to notice areas where you hold tension. This could be in your breathing, your tongue or jaw muscle, or the muscle of your face, neck, and shoulders.
By simply tuning in to your body, you can relax and release some tension.
6. Helps You Maintain a Confident Body Posture.
If you want to be seen as a winner by the people around you, then you have to carry yourself like one.
Your posture is one of the many things that improve when your muscles are stronger and more flexible.
For instance, balancing the head on the neck.
Our heads are like a watermelon – big, round, and heavy. When we maintain a posture that balances the head directly over an erect spine, your back and neck muscles have less work to do.
However, if you move it a few inches forward, those muscles have to counteract the imbalance… straining themselves in the process.
Most yoga standing and sitting poses build core strength, which helps you support and maintain each pose with ease.
You’re more likely to give off an aura of self-confidence when your core is strong enough to help you sit and stand “tall.”
A few weeks of yoga classes will teach you to be aware of your body and surroundings. This helps you notice and quickly adjust your posture if you’re slouching or slumping – two common body postures that convey weakness.
7. Prevents Cartilage and Joint Breakdown.
Yoga is a great way to take your joints through their full range of motion. This helps prevent degenerative arthritis by forcing joint cartilage that is rarely used to take up nutrients.
Joint cartilage is like a sponge – it soaks up a fresh supply of nutrients from the blood only when the fluid in it is squeezed out.
Without enough fresh nutrients to sustain them, some areas of cartilage will eventually wear out and expose the underlying bone to friction and damage when they rub against each other.
The spinal disks – the shock absorbers between the vertebrae – benefit the most from yoga since they rarely move as we go about our daily routine.
The Bottom Line.
Making the effort to become more flexible is a great way to improve the connection between mind and body.
However, you need to exercise caution when starting yoga lessons. Some poses may aggravate pre-existing injuries or create one if done incorrectly or before your body is ready.
For your safety and to ensure that you stick with it, speak to your doctor or physical therapist about any health concerns before taking up yoga lessons.