The Scientifically Proven Benefits of Yoga
An ancient practise which aims to bring together the body and mind, yoga incorporates breathing exercises, meditation, and poses of the body to encourage a reduction in stress and increase relaxation. Said to improve overall mental health and physical wellbeing, here are 8 scientifically proven benefits of yoga.
Those who suffer with anxiety often report feelings of distress for seemingly no reason, but since yoga encourages mindfulness and inner peace, many sufferers find that yoga helps relieve the symptoms of anxiety. One study followed 64 women diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and after 10 weeks of practising yoga, 52% of the women no longer met the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD.
Inflammation within the body is a normal immune response, but chronic inflammation may contribute to the development of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. A study in 2014 found that 12 weeks of yoga caused a reduction in inflammatory markers in breast cancers survivors suffering from persistent fatigue.
Improves Heart Health
Heart health is essential to overall health and various studies have proven that yoga may help improve heart health and reduce the chances of developing heart disease. One study, carried out over 5 years, found that participants over 40 years of age who regularly practised yoga had a lower blood pressure than those who did not.
Decreases Stress Levels
Multiple studies have shown that practising yoga decreases the secretion of the primary stress hormone cortisol and is used by many to decrease stress levels and promote relaxation – similar to horse racing betting. One study followed 24 women who were perceived to be emotionally distressed and after a 3-month yoga program, all the women had considerably lower levels of cortisol.
Improves Quality of Life
In one study of 135 seniors who were assigned to either 6 months of little to no exercise, yoga, or walking found that practising yoga significantly improved their quality of life, mood, and lowered levels of fatigue compared to the other groups.
Owing to yoga’s ability to decrease the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, studies have shown that practising yoga may have an anti-depressant effect and could help reduce the overall symptoms of depression. Cortisol influences the levels of serotonin which is the neurotransmitter associated with depression.
Reduces Chronic Pain
With a range of possible causes from injury to arthritis, chronic pain is a tireless problem which affects millions of people. However, there is a growing body of research supporting the idea that practising yoga may help reduce many types of chronic pain. Even though the research of this particular health benefit of yoga is still ongoing, including yoga in your daily routine may have a significant impact on chronic pain.
Improves Quality of Sleep
Even though researchers aren’t sure how or why, but yoga has been shown to increase the secretion of melatonin, the hormone which regulates wakefulness and sleep. As yoga also has a marked effect on anxiety, depression, and stress, this may be why practitioners enjoy an improved quality of sleep.