Should You Add Yoga Instead of Stretching to Your Training Routine?

We often see yoga as a stand-alone exercise class, but did you know that by adding it into your usual aerobic training routine, you could reap even more rewards?  Where many think yoga is just a fancy stretch, it is far more beneficial to health.  We’re going to share why yoga is superior to stretching in your usual routine.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is an ancient practice that involves movement, meditation, and breathing techniques to promote mental and physical well-being.

What is Stretching?

Stretching is a physical exercise that requires putting a body part in a certain position that’ll serve in the lengthening and elongation of the muscle or muscle group and therefore enhance its flexibility and elasticity.

We can see clear differences between the definitions of yoga and stretching, but researchers also found the same in terms of physical health benefits.

The Benefits of Yoga

A three-month study was conducted on a group of 60 participants with existing hypertension and metabolic syndrome.

The researchers divided the participants into two groups, both of which had to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise training five times a week.

Then, one group added 15 minutes of structured yoga, while the other group added structured stretching to their routine.

The researchers collected data on the health of the participants and observed markers like blood pressure, body size and shape, a common marker of inflammation, glucose and lipids levels, as well as overall cardiovascular risk.

After three months, the data collected showed that both groups had a decrease in resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial blood pressure, and heart rate.

But of particular interest, systolic blood pressure was reduced by 10 mmHg in the yoga group compared to only 4 mmHg in the stretching group.

The yoga group also experienced a reduced resting heart rate along with a reduced 10-year cardiovascular risk assessed using Reynold’s Risk score, which is a person’s risk of having a heart attack before the age of 60.

The researchers concluded that the benefits of yoga may be due to the focus on breathing and the mind-body connection that doesn’t usually occur with stretching alone.

Finally, they stated that their study shows that structured yoga practices can be a healthier addition to aerobic exercise than simply muscle stretching.

So, if you already participate in other aerobic training, but usually stretch, it may be worth swapping it for a yoga session.

Never done yoga before?  We have the perfect place to start!

Yoga Basics (£4 p/m)