For some people, yoga isn’t just a discipline, it’s a way of life. For the Centers for Disease Control, however, yoga is not an adequate form of physical activity. At least, it’s not an adequate form in terms of the moderate-intensity level aerobic exercise encouraged for 30 minutes a day to improve your health.
Clearly people haven’t tried hot yoga…
According to a recent study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the intensity of holding most Hatha yoga poses in classes does not meet the criteria for moderate-intensity physical activity. Research was done into past investigations of how many calories are burned in yoga and the metabolic intensity of poses and breathing exercises, including the sun salutations sequence.
Researchers found that most of the poses, and yoga in general, fit the classification of light-intensity activity. The sun salutations sequence, however, does meet moderate intensity. If those moves (including planks, lunges, upward and downward dog) are done throughout the day, it can help you meet the recommended daily activity requirements from the CDC’s Physical Activity Guideline for Americans. But if you do the normal range of Hatha poses, you’re not really getting the burn you could get from, say, 30 minutes of brisk walking, which can help you meet the level encouraged to boost your health.
However, the study also noted that even if it isn’t very intense at times, the benefits of doing Hatha yoga are still great. You can build some serious strength (and muscle-strengthening activities are part of the guidelines), especially in your core. Moves can also have quite the impact on your balance and flexibility. And, of course, one of the greatest benefits of Hatha yoga is that it helps you combat stress and calms you. In this hectic world, such practices can go a very long way in preserving your mental health. And if we’re talking about improving health, per the CDC’s guidelines, it’s also important to look out for more than just the physical.