Tag Archives: endurance


7 Benefits of Yoga

You’ve probably heard that Yoga is good for your health, but how? Will it help you lose weight, or increase muscle tone? Can it help you get better sleep at night or make you have a smooth complexion? Here are 7 benefits of yoga that definitely should know about.

Tones Muscles

Although most yoga movements are static, they fully activate muscles all over your body. Every time these muscles are activated, they get stronger. The more yoga you do, the more tones your muscles will become, especially if you accompany yoga with a healthy diet.

Increases Flexibility

Yoga is unique in the way it flexes your muscles while stretching and lengthening them. As you move through different yoga poses, your muscles warm up and are then able to stretch even further. The more you perform these exercises, the more flexible your muscles become.

Strengthens your Immune System

Yoga has been shown to lower stress hormones. The more stress hormones your body body releases, the weaker your immune system becomes. Yoga also stimulates your lymphatic system, which plays a role in your emotions, and helps rid your body of unwanted toxins. All of these combine to help your body fight off unwanted diseases.

Aids in Weight Loss

Although running, lifting weights and playing organized sports may burn more calories per minute than yoga, it’s not uncommon for yoga to aid in weight loss. It does burn calories, but it also lowers your stress level, which can help you lose more weight.

Increases Energy

Stress and energy levels are often opposites of each other. The more stress you feel, the less energy you have, and the more energy you feel, the less stress you experience. Doing yoga on a regular basis will lower your stress level, providing more natural healthy energy.

Balances the Body and Mind

Unlike some other types of exercise, yoga isn’t about speed or competition, it’s about getting more in touch with your body. As you put your body in different poses, you focus of breathing, and feeling all your different muscles flex, strengthen, and relax. It helps you step away from whatever else is going on in your life, and take a few minutes to just stop and breathe.

Aids Digestion

The key to this benefit is proper breathing. When you inhale, let your belly expand from the diaphragm moving down, and when you exhale, relax the stomach and let it fall in. This can reduce all the tension that might get in the way of this natural movement, and improve digestion.

One Step At A Time

Running - male runner closeupBuilding up your endurance is something that takes time. It doesn’t just happen overnight. I speak from experience when I tell you this. I went from never running at all, to running a half marathon in a matter of a few years. If you had told me back then that I would be able to run for 2 1/2 hours straight, I would have laughed in your face. Luckily, I kept with it, and little by little was able to build up my muscles and endurance to make it possible.

For me, the secret was to focus on one small step at a time. I started on a treadmill just walking uphill. Then I began to run on the treadmill for a few minutes at a time until I was able to run for an entire mile without stopping. My next goal was to be able to run a 5K, which I did about 6 months later with the help of a good friend. Once I was able to run 3 miles, 6 didn’t seem so bad, so my husband and I trained to do a 10K together. After that was done, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next. I kept reading online that if you could run 6 miles, you could run 13 miles, but I wasn’t so sure.

I decided it was now or never. I found a 12 week training program, signed up for a half marathon and started training. As I started being able to run 7, 8, 9 and 10 miles I realized my body was building up the endurance it needed to finish the race. As I crossed the finish line, I was sore and tired, but thrilled at my accomplishment. An overweight 30 something mom like myself had done something seemingly impossible just a few years ago.

As I look back on it, I am grateful that I didn’t give up, and that I forced myself to look just one step ahead, and not at the daunting task I would face in the end. Whatever your endurance challenge is, take it one step at a time, and in time you will reach your goal.