As much as it is important to build strength as we age, it is just as important to maintain our mobility in our hips, ankles, hammies, etc.
And if you are not one to just stretch on your own, try adding yoga on any level to your routine. You will see great benefits – not just in your body, but also in your mind.
Here are my top 3 reasons to add yoga to your routine:
Yoga Increases Range of Motion
You might have a tight muscle group or two—most frequently the hamstrings, glutes, pecs, and shoulders. You may not realize the limitations any of these place on your ability to train through a full range of motion. The more you train them through a limited range of motion, the more limited you become as a lifter—and a functional human being.
A well-designed yoga class emphasizes moves that open up virtually all of these problem areas, because everyone can benefit from opening up their rounded shoulders and tight hips. Also, as we age our posture gets worse and yoga can help counteract sitting at a desk all day.
Yoga Quiets the Mind
A quiet mind is a clear mind. In yoga it is imperative to focus on your breath and stay in the present. This will help benefit you in all aspects of your life. Most people are also attached to their smart phones, and its a great way to escape from the day to day grind and attempt to quiet your mind from the outside. The more you practice yoga, the better you get at clearing your mind. It is truly movement meditation. And we all know the benefits of meditation for stress relief.
Yoga Strengthens your Stabilizer Muscles
A lot of traditional lifting exercises like shoulder press and chest press neglect the small, stabilizing muscles that a yoga practice can help build. That’s why you will occasionally see a strong muscular guy get owned in a class full of small, less muscular women. Doing down dog, straight arm plank (or side plank), and warrior variations can help strengthen the smaller muscles (rotator cuff, erector spinae – low/mid back) that get neglected by traditional lifting.
Yoga Improves Balance
Balance often gets neglected in the weight/cardio room, but in yoga it is incorporated into most practices. This will improve your neuromuscular coordination. Basically, it helps improve the communication between your brain and muscles. It helps with muscle isolation, too. During balance training, you have to maintain stabilization. You are forced to engage an individual muscle so that you are not using other muscles to help you “cheat.” With single leg-type balance exercises, your glute medius is engaged and worked. Therefore, this helps with hip stabilization and core stabilization, improving your coordination and posture.
I prefer warm/hot yoga because it helps to get into the poses (injury prevention). Getting a good sweat helps rid the body of toxins.
I recommend going at your own pace, and don’t compare your practice to others in the class – that is when you can get hurt.
So give it a go, and let me know how it goes.