I s yoga really as beneficial as everyone’s claiming? Can yoga be the cure-all that a recovering athlete needs to include in their already growing schedule? Based on a 2018 study, 12 sessions of ‘interventional’ yoga (one session per week) significantly decreased stress, anxiety and depression and reduced the medical cost per treatment by reducing the use of drugs1. On top of that, yoga targets the understanding of one’s self, and as such, ‘interventional’ yoga doesn’t require the need to be as rigorous and frequency comes down to personal preference2.

A Northeastern University study on Midwestern college athletes showed that yoga increased both flexibility and balance. Significant gains were observed; something every athlete wants to hear. 10 weeks of yoga increased training capabilities and improved athletic performance. A list of positive outcomes are listed:

  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Decrease in blood lipid values
  • Decrease in body mass index
  • Improvement in pulmonary function
  • Enhance muscle torque
  • Increase in handgrip strength
  • Decrease in lower back pain
  • Delay onset of muscle soreness
  • Increased flexibility and balance
  • Improved cardiovascular performance
  • Improved mental health

As we can expect to see in the near future, yoga will be a staple in preventing illnesses as it integrates more into Western medicine.  I’m not a yogi by any means; I constantly give myself excuses to avoid stretching before and after a workout, but the evidence and benefits are astounding.  Yoga might not be the miracle cure-all we’re all looking for, but as a potential quick fix to breaking PRs and decreasing the usual wear-and-tear and strain we put on ourselves in our endeavors seem to be a well worth-it effort. Maybe the yogis really were onto something.

 

References:

Shohani, M, The Effect of Yoga on Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in Women, 2018, Int J Prev Med. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5843960/

Woodyard, C., Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life, 2011, Int J Yoga. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/

Polsgrove, M. Impact of 10-weeks of yoga practice on flexibility and balance of college athletes, 2016, Int J Yoga. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4728955/

Stephens, I. Medical Yoga Therapy, Feb 2017, Children (Basel). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5332914/

Bussing, A. Effects of Yoga on Mental and Physical Health: A Short Summary of Reviews, 2012, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3447533/

Ross. A, The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies, 2010, J Altern Complement Med. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20105062

Mike Leong

Mike Leong

Athleticus Contributor. An experienced business professional in the healthcare industry, with expertise in Biological & Biomedical Science after receiving his MS, MBS, & BA from Rowan and Rutgers Universities.

Leave a Reply