Healthy Stretching Exercises

So far, in this blog, we’ve focused on activities that burn calories and improve fitness. What about activities that increase flexibility, such as stretching exercise or yoga? Some athletes believe that doing stretching exercises before a workout reduces the risk of injury. So far, there’s not much scientific evidence to support that idea. And stretching is not going to strengthen your heart and muscles. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important. We’re convinced that stretching exercises help people stay active by keeping joints and muscles flexible. Obviously, maintaining the ability to reach and bend is important in everyday life.


The Yoga Option

Yoga is one of the oldest physical disciplines in the world. The age-old practice combines meditation, breathing exercises, and postures that are thought to focus physical and mental energy. Yoga has been shown to have many health benefits. These include reducing stress and anxiety and easing depression. Yoga is typically not an aerobic activity, so it doesn’t count towards meeting exercise recommendations for moderate activity. But some forms of yoga do improve muscle strength and flexibility and thus can help you stay active and healthy.
Yoga has been around for long that a variety of forms have evolved:
  • Hatha yoga – the traditional practice of posture designed to improve flexibility, balance, and strength while focusing the mind and body.
  • Ashtanga yoga – sometimes called power yoga because it emphasizes powerful movements that require strength and stamina.
  • Iyengar yoga – a combination of slow, controlled movements.
  • Kundalini yoga – rapid movements accompanied by meditation, chanting, and breathing exercises.
  • Bikram yoga – popularly known as hot yoga because it is performed in warm rooms in order to boost flexibility.

Most practitioners combine several approaches. For more information on yoga classes, check out your local fitness centers or community recreation programs.

  1. American Yoga Association at
  2. Yoga in Canada at
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