Yoga is good for your body in many different ways. Some of them come from being able to handle stress better. Others come more directly from the physical moves and poses in yoga, which help make you more flexible and lessen joint pain.
Here are some of the health benefits of yoga that are backed up by more and more study. Yoga may also help with migraines, osteoporosis, balance and mobility problems, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, fibromyalgia, and ADHD, according to early studies.
Back Pain Relief
In the United States, back pain is one of the most common health problems. It will happen to four out of five Americans at some point. But it seems like yoga can help. A 2013 review of 10 randomized controlled studies found “strong evidence for short-term effectiveness and moderate evidence for long-term effectiveness of yoga for chronic low-back pain.” In fact, the American Society of Pain recommends that doctors think about giving yoga to people with long-term lower back pain.
When your back hurts, it may be tempting to stay in bed all day, but doctors no longer suggest that. Even though sitting in bed reduces stress on the lumbar spine, it also weakens muscles and makes other problems worse. In general, you will get better faster if you can get up and move around as soon as possible. Yoga helps back pain by making muscles more flexible and stronger. Relaxation, less worry, and being more aware of your body may also help.
In one study, people with back pain who did two 90-minute yoga sessions a week for 24 weeks felt 56% less pain. The study was reported in the journal Spine. They were also less disabled and depressed than people with back pain who got normal care, like painkillers. The data also showed that people who did yoga seemed to use less pain medicine. Six months after the study, when the researchers checked in with the people who took part, 68% of the people in the yoga group were still doing yoga an average of three times a week for 33 minutes each time. That’s a good sign that they thought yoga was good for them.
Less Arthritis Pain
Studies have shown that exercise can help ease the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. However, these symptoms can make it hard to be active in the first place. Yoga is a gentle form of exercise that can help increase your range of motion and strengthen the muscles around painful joints.
In a 2014 study of 36 women with knee osteoarthritis, the symptoms got much better for those who did yoga compared to those who didn’t. One day a week, the yoga group had a 60-minute class, and on the other days, they did yoga at home. On average, they did yoga on their own for 112 minutes a week. After eight weeks, they said their pain was 38% less and their stiffness was 35% less, while the people who didn’t do yoga said their complaints got worse.
People with the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis may also benefit. In a 2015 study, women with rheumatoid arthritis who took two one-hour yoga classes a week for eight weeks reported changes in their physical health, walking ability, pain levels, energy, and mood. They also had a lot fewer swollen and painful joints.
Also Read: 9 More Benefits of Yoga
Lowered Blood Pressure
One of the significant benefits of yoga is its potential to lower blood pressure, offering a natural and non-invasive approach to managing hypertension. Here’s how yoga can help in reducing blood pressure:
- Stress Reduction: Yoga incorporates relaxation techniques, deep breathing exercises, and meditation, which have been shown to effectively reduce stress and anxiety. Lowering stress levels can have a positive impact on blood pressure as chronic stress is linked to increased blood pressure.
- Enhanced Circulation: Certain yoga postures and movements encourage better blood flow and circulation throughout the body. Improved circulation allows the heart to work more efficiently, which can contribute to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
- Relaxation Response: Practicing yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system, triggering the relaxation response in the body. This response helps to counteract the “fight or flight” stress response, leading to decreased heart rate and blood pressure.
- Reduced Sympathetic Activity: Yoga has been shown to reduce the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for the body’s stress response. When the sympathetic activity decreases, blood vessels relax, and blood pressure tends to decrease as a result.