Yoga and physical fitness

Both are wonderful ways to energize and strengthen the body.  Although there are different movements and exercises involved with yoga and fitness, they both help the body to heal, regenerate and grow stronger.

As a certified fitness trainer, I have always held to the philosophy that “exercise is medicine for the body and the mind.” I also believe in the mind-body connection.

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Even though I regularly exercise with dumbbells, elastic bands, barbells, kettlebells, machines and perform cardiovascular exercise, I still find time to incorporate some yoga into my weekly routine. Both of these modalities have their benefits and I feel refreshed, energized and stronger after doing fitness exercises or yoga.

Ten reasons physical fitness and yoga are a great combo

1) Physical fitness encourages the growth of new muscle fibres after a heavy workout with weights.  Muscles are tearing down and rebuilding and there may be some pain the following day.

2) Yoga is a great complement to fitness because yoga involves stretching those exhausted muscles and this helps to facilitate the repair process.

3) An example of fitness and yoga complementing each other would be doing abdominal work such as a weighted crunch, decline crunch or ab crunch machine.  Yoga would be a great complement by doing the cobra stretch.  This will certainly help those sore muscles in the abdomen recuperate with less pain and tightness the day after.

4) Fitness exercises, particularly aerobic or cardiovascular involve the use of oxygen in the body for endurance.  Examples of aerobic exercises would be biking, swimming or walking.  Anaerobic fitness exercises are without the use of oxygen and some examples are sprinting, heavy weight lifting or jump squats.

5) Yoga is a great complement to aerobic and anaerobic fitness because yoga involves deep breathing and the use of oxygen throughout the body.  For instance performing a downward dog after doing heavy weight lifting or jump squats would be a great way to stretch the back and legs while getting oxygen to the muscles.

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6) Fitness exercises help to relieve stress since it allows the body to produce those feel-good chemicals afterwards.  Too much exercise or over-training can have the opposite affect and cause stress on the body thereby breaking down the immune system.

7) Yoga complements fitness because it allows one to be in a relaxed state, almost meditative since one should be concentrating on maintaining the pose and clearing the mind.  When the mind is clear, the body is relaxed and true healing can take place.

8) Cardiovascular fitness exercises and weight training exercises both have their place to help with weight loss, toning and muscle building.

9) Yoga, particularly Vinyasa yoga is one of my favorite kinds of yoga because the heart rate is increased while doing sun salutations, upward dog and downward dog.  This type of yoga can be a great complement to a weight loss program and also provide some muscle tone to the body.

10) Fitness and yoga are great complements to each other because they both get the body moving.  If you don’t use it or move it, you lose it.  Losing it involves the muscles shrinking and the fat cells becoming more visible.   Keep the body moving now and your body will keep you moving throughout the rest of your life.

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