Yoga – Is it Exercise?: Warrior Wellbeing Article
Yoga is best described as a traditional exercise and can have a positive influence on our physical, mental and social/spiritual wellbeing. Yoga has been around for centuries in some form and in more recent times has undergone its own transformation by becoming a more mainstream exercise practice in western culture. Research into Yoga shows there are many benefits and it helps people manage their stress, anxiety, depression and all the challenges that life may throw our way. However, I want to briefly look at and outline the physical benefits of Yoga as an exercise. When we do any sort of movement (we do have to just get moving) the benefits are often overlooked by us blokes.
Yoga as exercise can be described as structured physical movements that get the body moving through a series of stretches. Some of these stretches include but are not limited to:
- lumbar spinal stretches;
- hip stretches;
- hamstrings stretches;
- core body work, including our pelvic floor;
- balance routines/stretches.
Yoga can be complimentary to whatever we choose as our main exercise routine, whether that be our regular sport, leisure like walking, running and/or swimming. Yoga can also be a complete exercise regime on its own. When we read the research around Yoga, it also has a multitude of benefits to aid in rehabilitation from major accidents and/or surgery. Quite often the exercises we see elite athletes performing before and after their games (in particular football) are in fact Yoga based exercises.
Yoga has been summarized as preventative health around our body awareness, something as blokes we may lack an appreciation for. A lot of research and common literature tells us that there are many benefits to Yoga, particularly for men. The practise of Yoga can:
- cause a reduction in cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol and improves the levels of antioxidants in the blood;
- improve male sexual function – Yoga appears to be an effective method of improving all domains of sexual function in men;
- improve incontinence – Yoga may lessen the side effects in men undergoing prostate cancer treatment. There is a body of work around the benefits in exercise for improving our pelvic floor and incontinence with or without prostate surgery;
- improve male reproductive health – Yoga has been identified as having a positive impact on male reproductive health and fertility;
- maintain and increase strength, tone and flexibility.
We all need to exercise more, and Yoga is another tool for us blokes to utilize, especially when we add in the advantages that is has for our man bits. Give it a go, you may enjoy it as well as gain some improvements to your overall wellbeing.
Owen and the Team
The Regional Men’s Health Initiative delivered by WMH (Inc.)
Phone: 08 9690 2277