The Cardio Benefits of Yoga

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Should you be doing sun salutations more often? Yoga may protect you from heart disease just as much as jogging and cycling, according to a study in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology.

The researchers looked at over 30 studies on yoga and heart health. The science indicates that people who do yoga reduce their risk of heart disease just as much as people who do traditional forms of cardio, says Myriam Hunink, M.D., Ph.D., senior study author. Indeed, both forms of exercise are shown to significantly decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and resting heart rate. Meanwhile, the studies showed that people who don’t work out experience—perhaps not surprisingly—an elevated risk of ticker disease.

“We think yoga is beneficial to your heart because it combines exercise and relaxation,” says Hunink. That mind-body relaxation element might also make yoga better at reducing stress and anxiety compared to other fitness activities.

But many guys avoid yoga because they think it won’t give them as much of a burn in what precious time they have for sweat sessions, says Craig Ballantyne, creator of Turbulence Training. While yoga may not burn as many calories—the Mayo Clinic estimates that it expends just 228 calories in an hour while lifting and running use up 455 and 755, respectively—the activity still has a critical place in the routine of any fitness fanatic.

“Yoga helps your body recover after a tough training session and improves your flexibility and mobility. That leads to faster gains, and better form and athleticism,” says Ballantyne. “It also makes you stronger. Yoga—especially Vinyasa yoga—is a tough core and isometric strength challenge. Replacing boring planks with yoga moves works your abs to a greater extent.” And holding most yoga moves for time gives you a great pump, which can make you buffer.

Ballantyne says you should add 10 to15 minutes of yoga onto the end of a tough training session as a cool down, or do longer sessions of it on your non-lifting days. If you exercise four total hours a week, here’s what a perfect, abs-shredding program might look like:

Monday: Do 30 minutes of metabolic weight-based circuits, followed by 15 minutes of yoga

Tuesday: Rest.

Wednesday: Do 30-45 minutes of weight-based circuits, such as The Spartacus Workout.

Thursday: Rest.

Friday: Do 30-45 minutes of metabolic weight-based circuits.

Saturday: Do 45 to 90 minutes of yoga—preferably at a class with a lot of girls and a good instructor, says Ballantyne.

Sunday: Rest.

Source: Men’s Health

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