When I mentioned those six lifestyle hacks for weight loss, one of the things that I talked about was exercising regularly.
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Exercise, at one point, used to be one of my favorite things. I did step aerobics, I spent at least an hour on the Elliptical machine and then happily moved on to the rowing machine. I even enjoyed working with weights or occasionally using a friend’s Bowflex.
I wouldn’t call myself a fitness junkie though because my obsession with exercise was tied to deeper issues.
It took me several years to overcome those issues and to finally reach a point where I was comfortable with my weight. By that point though I had stopped exercising on a regular basis.
And then I had Squeaker and my motivation to exercise was pretty much non-existent. But then I realized that I wanted to get in shape and healthy. And I wanted to do it in a way that was going to be smart and made sense. Getting exercise was only the start, but it was a matter of where to start.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or licensed Yoga teacher. I am a mom who has found yoga to be beneficial and merely wanted to share what I’ve found. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.
Starting a Yoga Practice Was My First Step
Yes, you read that right. I started looking into yoga. Believe me, I was quite the skeptic that yoga could offer any benefits. And for that matter, I was convinced that I wasn’t flexible enough.
But even a beginner, like me, can benefit from practicing yoga. And it’s not just for my physical health, either. Yoga also helps with my overall wellness goals.
Yoga can help you get fit quickly and safely because it uses the weight of your body to tone and trim. It is low impact, and good for people of all ages and body types who want to build their strength and stay fix and flexible.
You’re Never too Old for Yoga
Yoga is ideal even for seniors because it can improve range of motion, balance and stability.
It also relieves stiffness. The long lean muscle built through yoga can protect bones and aging joints in order to keep you mobile and injury-free. Those muscles can also help boost your metabolism so you will burn more calories, which is ideal if you wish to lose weight.
Yoga is Budget Friendly
Yoga is relatively inexpensive to start. You can purchase a book, DVD, or search for a local class. You’ll probably want a mat, and loose comfortable clothing is definitely a must. But beyond that? You really don’t need much else in terms of equipment to purchase.
You Can Practice Almost Anywhere
Yoga can be done at a studio, the gym, outdoors, or in the comfort of your own home. It’s hard to say that about most exercises, but yoga is one of those that can be adapted to your environment.
Thousands of Years of Proof That It Works
Yoga has been used for thousands of years for health, healing and fitness. It may seem weird or “New Age” to us in the West, but the truth is that Hatha yoga has been practiced for thousands of years in the Far East.
The health benefits of a regular yoga practice include increased:
* Long, lean muscle
Yoga will decrease:
* Blood pressure
Before you start to twist yourself into a pretzel, it is important to put safety first. If you have any underlying health issues, check with your doctor before starting yoga.
Choose a yoga that is low impact, such as Hatha, Kundalini or Vinyasa, compared to the more demanding forms such as Bikram (hot yoga) or Ashtanga.
Be aware of any old or recent injuries and protect your back and knees. Start with yoga poses that can work your core muscles, such as Mountain, Tree, and the Warrior series of poses, and Plank pose. A good set of abdominal and back muscles will give your practice stability and help keep you safe.
Don’t believe the myth of “no pain, no gain” in reference to yoga. That is the surest way to sideline yourself with a potentially serious injury. After a workout, it is natural to feel a little sore the next day, but if this persists, rest those muscles until the strain in healed.
Practice on a level surface and use a non-skid mat so you do not slip. It will cushion your joints as well when doing your poses. Warm up before and cool down after with some gentle stretching. Stay warm but not too hot. Cold muscles will tense can be injured more easily.
If you are using a DVD, work at your own pace. Pause it as needed. If you are confused, look up the poses online at a reliable site like Yoga Journal.
Enjoy your meditations. Think of them as a mini-break from your daily life even if some of them seem weird. Chanting mantras such as OM might also seem a bit odd, but you will soon notice your body, mind and spirit all becoming in tune with each other.
Don’t skip deep relaxation at the end. This is usually done lying down in Corpse pose and is a great way to de-stress.
Now that you know what to expect, start a daily yoga practice and see what a difference it can make to your health.
Yoga is beneficial for me for the following reasons:
- Increased flexibility
- weight loss
Yoga has become the core of my exercise practice because it helps me to meet several of my overall fitness goals. As 2016 continues to wind down, I will start working on my goals for next year. Be sure to tune in and watch for updates as I will be sharing several free goodies to help you in your fitness journey.
From one mom to another: We will get there!