How yoga can boost your Health Score
Now the weather is improving, you're probably thinking of more season-appropriate exercise measures, such as swapping the treadmill for running outdoors and taking up tennis or squash.
While you might think that strenuous sports are best for your health, you may be pleased to discover that low-impact exercise like yoga is just as beneficial and can contribute to boosting your Well One Health Score.
Whether you choose to perfect your yoga moves on a picturesque hilltop or in the comfort of your back garden, your body will still reap the rewards. Here's how:
When you feel stressed, your body releases adrenaline into your system that causes your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure to increase – all of which contribute to lowering your Health Score.
Performing yoga, however, can help to diminish feelings of stress. A 2012 article published in the journal Medical Hypotheses suggests that yoga can improve stress-related imbalances in the nervous system, which could prevent and treat certain medical conditions, including heart disease.
What's more, the exercise can help to induce feelings of happiness; a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that subjects who performed aerobic exercise, such as yoga, had lower levels of depression and higher levels of serotonin – a chemical associated with happiness – than those who did not.
Aerobic yoga exercises can up your heart rate, subsequently helping to improve cardiovascular conditioning. Not just this, but the yoga exercises that don't raise your heart rate can also improve your heart health. A 2011 study published in the International Journal of Biological and Medical Research found that after six months of yoga practice, participants had significantly lower blood pressure levels than they did before taking up the exercise.
Lower blood pressure levels mean less chance of encountering heart problems, such as disease, cardiac arrest and stroke.
Yoga helps to build strength and at the same time, improve flexibility. Strong muscles help to protect the body from health conditions like arthritis and back pain, while flexibility can help improve posture and reduce the risk of spinal-related problems.
Not just this, but through practicing yoga you might find that your inner strength is also enhanced. For example, you might find that you feel more motivated to make better choices, such as eating healthier, exercising more, or giving up unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking.
It's not just performing exercise that can help to boost your Health Score. Factors such as getting the right amount of sleep can contribute to hitting the 100 mark, too.
Practicing yoga is a great way to separate yourself from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Think of it as providing your body with some down time. Relieving yourself of any external stressors will have a subsequent effect on your internal body clock, encouraging a better sleeping pattern that will lead to better productivity and less stress.
What's more, researchers at Harvard Medical School found that daily basic yoga practice helped to improve sleep among insomniacs.