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7 Reasons You Should Try Yoga This Weekend

7 Reasons You Should Try Yoga This Weekend

Yoga can improve your mind and body. Visiting a yoga class won’t just help you get fit and flexible. You can also expect to reduce stress, increase concentration, and improve your posture. Need more convincing? Check out these 7 reasons to try yoga this weekend.

1. Low impact, beginner-friendly exercise

Unfortunately, most people associate exercise with punishment. Running on the treadmill is something you do because you “ate too much and need to burn it off.” This attitude is unhealthy and unnecessary. Yoga is a great way to teach yourself that exercise is about treating your body (not torturing it). 

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2. Stress relief

A study published by Oxford University Press discovered that yoga could be an effective intervention for reducing stress and back pain at work. Study participants were split in to two groups of 37: the first performed a 50-minute yoga session every week for eight weeks and received a 20-minute DVD for home practice, while the control group received no intervention. The yoga group reported significantly lower stress, back pain, sadness, and hostility than the control group. They also reported feeling self-assured, attentive, and serene. Click here to build your own stress-reducing yoga routine.

3. Increased concentration and motivation

A study by the American College of Sports Medicine found that yoga can improve concentration, enhance motivation, and reduce anxiety within two months. Study participants completed three assessments during the second and ninth week of the study to measure concentration, motivation, and anxiety. According to the study authors, the improvements in all three areas were dramatic.” This should come as no surprise, since yoga is regarded as a mindful discipline in the East.

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Another study by the University of Illinois that appeared in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that yoga can improve focus and brain function. Thirty study participants took tests measuring their ability to focus, retain, and use information. One group performed aerobic exercise (walking on a treadmill), while others participated in a yoga class that concluded with a brief meditation and deep breathing. Those who performed yoga had a higher ability to focus, learn, and retain new information than those who walked.

4. Better balance and stability

A study published by the Department of Veteran Affairs in the journal Stroke found that yoga improves motor function and balance after having a stroke. Three-quarters of all stroke survivors suffer from falls (which could break bones or end lives), so this is welcome news. Try out the yoga balances for beginners below if you’d like to move with grace.

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5. Improved flexibility

A more flexible body capable of moving through its full range of motion is less susceptible to injury. Don’t worry: you don’t have to stand on your head or perform a split. If you’re the opposite of flexible, try out these yoga poses for beginners.

6. Confident posture

Spending your days sitting in front of a computer is a surefire way to wreck your posture (not to mention all the other risks that come with excessive sitting). Perform this quick yoga workout if you’d like to have a perfect posture that allows you to walk with swagger.

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7. Get a good night’s sleep

A study by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School observed the effects of yoga on patients suffering from insomnia. They practiced a 45-minute yoga sequence, including deep-breathing and meditation, every night for eight weeks. Participants reported statistically significant improvements in sleep efficiency, total sleep time, total wake time, number of awakenings, and quality of sleep. Click here to check out 10 yoga poses that will help you get to sleep. If you’d like more sleep hacks guaranteed to increase your Z’s, click here.

Have you ever tried yoga? If so, what’s your favorite pose? If you haven’t, why not?

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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