13 Wonderful Benefits Of Yoga For Men
Benefits of yoga for men range from breathing to reducing cardiovascular risk. And you don't even have to be flexible.
You may be a fan of pumping iron at the gym, but have you thought about exchanging barbells for a yoga mat? Not only can yoga improve your range of motion, but it can also offer you gains beyond what a hefty cable machine can give you.
Here's what science has to say.
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Powerful Benefits of Yoga for Men That Will Convert You to a Yogi
1. May Promote Mindfulness
Yoga promotes mindfulness, which encourages us to listen to our body more and understand what it truly needs.
It's also about being more aware of everything in your surroundings and everything you experience.
A study showed that both groups showed significantly higher levels of mindfulness and lower cortisol levels after a Hatha Yoga class. The results also showed that experience has no connection to mindfulness or cortisol levels. So whether you're a seasoned yogi or a beginner, you will benefit from yoga.
Science hints that mindfulness may help us improve our eating habits, possibly proving useful to men trying to lose weight. Mindfulness learned from yoga may lend itself to mindful eating.
Practicing mindfulness may also help improve
- eating behaviors
- caloric intake
- improved weight loss.
2. May Help With Breathing
Yoga includes plenty of breathing exercises. Your breathing is controlled and incorporated into each movement in every pose.
Science suggests that practicing yoga may help improve symptoms of bronchial asthma. Patients were asked to practice yoga twice daily for 20 minutes each session for 12 weeks. The subjects reported both subjective and objective improvement in lung function.
Vital capacity is the amount of air we can possibly exhale after filling our lungs. It's a concern to those with asthma and heart and lung conditions.
A study showed that subjects that took yoga classes for 15 weeks had improved vital capacity. In the classes they learned breathing and relaxation techniques.
Yoga, with its breathing techniques, may help improve lung capacity and function.
3. May Help Improve Sleep Quality
You can't underestimate the power of a good night's sleep, associated with obesity and cardiovascular risk.
Older adults typically experience insomnia and difficulty sleeping.
A 2014 study of older men and women over 60 asked the subjects to attend yoga classes twice a week for 12 weeks. They reported significant improvement in subjective factors like overall sleep quality, latency, efficiency, and duration.
Another small study with 20 participants found that those with chronic insomnia had a statistically significant increase in sleep quality.
Yoga may be a useful tool in a doctor's arsenal to improve the quality of life in both healthy patients. It may also be included as a complementary tool in therapy for patients with serious ailments.
4. May Improve Mobility, Stability and Flexibility
Fitness extends beyond pumping iron at the gym with strength and resistance training.
You also need flexibility, stability, and mobility to increase your range of motion. Improving this will help your further your movements and capitalize on your gains.
A 10-week study with athletes suggests that yoga can help improve body measures, stability, and flexibility.
Another study with elderly individuals found that yoga is more effective in increasing flexibility than calisthenics.
A 12-week trial showed that elderly individuals that practiced Iyengar yoga had improved mobility and balance.
Men of all ages can benefit from a weekly yoga session. It can help improve your range of motion now. And in your later years, may help improve mobility and balance to prevent you from falling.
5. May Improve Strength
Experts often advise having variety in your workouts. Repeating the same exercises will have diminishing results over time. So turn to yoga to increase strength and to switch things up.
A study with Chinese adults showed that Hatha yoga helped improve muscle strength and endurance. It also had a positive effect on cardiovascular endurance and flexibility.
Also showing positive results on overall body composition and endurance is a study on the sun salutation for a 24-week period. Men had improved in both strength and endurance. Moreover, their BMI significantly decreased.
This further proves yoga's usefulness in weight loss and improving the body's overall composition.
6. May Help Relieve Symptoms of Arthritis
Your doctor may recommend yoga on top of your arthritis medication.
Studies find that yoga may be a possible complementary treatment to adults with arthritis. Subjects reported experiencing less pain. Another study even reported that subjects required less arthritis-related medication after 12 sessions.
But before you wane off your medication, take note that more clinical trials need to be done before yoga is declared a reliable and effective treatment for arthritis symptoms. However, the evidence so far suggests that yoga may be a safe way to increase physical activity in sedentary arthritis patients.
7. May Ease Chronic Pain
Dealing with chronic pain? Yoga also offers pain-soothing benefits for men.
Yoga may be useful in managing signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
A study with subjects with carpal tunnel syndrome and a median age of 52 found yoga to be effective in improving grip strength. Moreover, results suggest that it may even be more effective than splinting.
Another study found that yoga has strong potential to treat chronic back pain short term.
But the type of pain yoga can ease isn't limited to joint or muscular pain.
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8. May Soothe Migraines
Yoga may be a great solution for men that experience chronic migraines.
Yoga stimulates the vagus nerve, which is known to help reduce pain.
A study with 62 subjects found that vagus nerve stimulation was effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines. One subject was reported to be completely free of migraines.
A small study with 30 participants found that combining yoga with conventional care was more effective in relieving migraine than those that did not do yoga.
It's important to note that all studies so far prescribe or lay evidence that yoga is a potential complementary therapy. Maintain your doctor-recommended medication and therapy. However, you may explore the option of introducing yoga into your program.
9. May Help Allay Stress
Men with stressful jobs may receive a number of benefits from a relaxing yoga session.
Stress is a natural response, helping us survive. However, prolonged stress is harmful to the body. Many researchers look to yoga as a mode of stress management.
It is widely accepted that yoga is effective in lowering serum cortisol levels – the stress hormone.
A small study in a Swedish company found that yoga had significant improvements on self-rated factors. The factors include stress, exhaustion, anger, and quality of life.
10. May Ease Anxiety
Yoga may help soothe stress and anxiety.
Science shows that it can even have a positive and permanent effect on more serious anxiety disorders.
A study on women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found that 52% of the subjects that participated in yoga no longer had PTSD. While only 21% of the subjects that took a support class were no longer classified to suffer from PTSD.
However, the mechanisms of yoga and anxiety aren't clear yet.
Researchers purport that yoga may help them deal with and tolerate signs of anxiety. This circles back to the benefits of mindfulness learned from yoga.
11. May Combat Depression
As discussed earlier, yoga is known to lower cortisol levels. It is actually cortisol that signals serotonin, which is associated with depression.
A study showed that Sudarshana Kriya Yoga may serve as an antidepressant. The subjects showed a significant reduction in cortisol and ACTH levels after two weeks.
Yoga has positive impacts on psychological, behavioral, and physiological levels. All of which help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in patients.
Scientists believe that there are other neurological mechanisms that make yoga an effective therapeutic partner for depression. These may include VGS and reduction in inflammation.
12. May Help Relieve Inflammation
Benefits that men stand to gain from yoga include possibly life-preserving benefits.
A small study found that Hatha yoga may have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Another study showed that Iyengar yoga intervention had an anti-inflammatory effect on breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue.
Inflammation is an immune response of the body when you are unhealthy and are stressed. Chronic inflammation, however, has dangerous long-term effects and must be taken seriously.
Yoga shows promising anti-inflammatory activities. However research is limited and consults are inconsistent. For medical concerns, doctor-prescribed medication is the only acceptable first line of defense.
13. May Promote Cardiovascular Health
Numerous types of stress increases your risk of heart disease including oxidative stress and mental stress. Yoga may help keep your heart healthy by lowering your stress levels.
An open trial by the International Board of Yoga made yoga-based lifestyle modifications for 71 patients. Results showed that:
- Cholesterol levels reduced by 23.3%
- LDL cholesterol levels reduced by 26%
- Regression of disease by 43.7%
- Arrest of progression by 46.5%
Another study involving subjects over 40 years of age that practiced yoga for five years had better cardiovascular function than those that didn't. Yoga may help keep age-related heart conditions at bay.
Yoga doesn't only allow you to capitalize on your gains. It gives you a wider range of motion for a perfectly executed (and stable) rep each time. It also keeps you healthy from within, from your heart to mind so you can also improve your quality of life.
As the research literature grows, we're seeing more and more benefits men can gain from yoga. It's not too late to start. But the perfect time to start – now.
Convinced to purchase a yoga mat? How are you incorporating this into your new training routine? Share with us in the comments section below!
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