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Yoga and Men: Great Workout or Grating Exercise?

By Donna Stark

Yoga and Men: Great Workout or Grating Exercise?

When it comes to transforming their bodies and achieving top physiques, most men will opt for daily sweat sessions at their local gym. But the gym isn’t the only place where they can capture the gains they are shooting for. There are some very good reasons why men of all ages should consider stepping inside a yoga studio as well.

The zen environment and dim lights might not scream “workout” as loudly as a gym does, but do yoga classes help produce the results that many men are looking for?

It’s a question men might ponder: is yoga a great workout or grating exercise?

Should Men Do Yoga?

A lot of men shy away from yoga because they think it is an easy workout or a “girl thing,” but they couldn’t be more wrong about this form of exercise. There is much more to yoga than meditation music, balanced poses, and deep breathing exercises. Yoga is an opportunity to lose weight, strengthen and build muscle, release tension, increase flexibility, and improve physique. Heck, it might even add a spark to your sex life.

What Are the Benefits of Yoga For Men?

Yoga may be a bit intimidating at first, but men should still consider incorporating regular sessions into their fitness routine because the rewards they can reap from doing so are huge.

Weight Loss

Because there are various types of yoga to choose from, it can be confusing when trying to select the right one for your goals. Some types focus more on the relaxing and spiritual side, while others are considered challenging and intense. If you are trying to lose weight, Vinyasa and Bikram are the types you should be looking at. Vinyasa is a good choice because it is cardio-based and more athletic. Bikram yoga is good because it consists of 26 routines that must be completed in a room heated to 105 degrees. The reasoning behind the routines and heat is that by increasing sweat and detoxifying the body, you will be able to burn calories faster.

An important point to remember, however, is that weight loss will vary by person and is dependent on a variety of factors, such as your diet, beginning weight, and overall activity level. You can’t forget to consider that before you start on your weight loss journey.

Muscle Tone and Strength

Unlike weightlifting, which isolates single muscle groups during training, yoga helps build and strengthen muscle throughout multiple areas of the body. Many people consider it to be a more balanced approach than weightlifting because it activates both small and large muscle groups at the same time.

Yoga can also help increase strength by improving blood flow and oxygenation in the body. Choose from Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Bikram for the biggest impact on your overall fitness level and physique.

Tension and Stress

There’s no denying that yoga is one of the best ways for men to relieve tension in the body. Yoga poses help to lengthen, stretch, and relax tight muscles while improving posture and alignment at the same time.

Yoga also emphasizes mindful breathing exercises, which have been shown to help address the mental aspects of a tense body. Helping the body relax both physically and mentally is a perfect example of how yoga connects the mind and body. This can be particularly beneficial for men who lead busy and demanding lives.

Increased Flexibility and Balance

Men should also practice yoga to improve their overall flexibility. Poor flexibility can negatively impact the body’s range of motion and balance, and is linked to an increased risk of injury, discomfort, and subpar performance during workouts.

Yoga poses work by stretching and lengthening your muscles. However, they differ from the stretches you may perform after getting out of bed in the morning because they target more than just your body’s major muscle groups (remember those smaller muscles we talked about above?). Yoga also places more emphasis on safety, form, and bodily awareness.

Heart Health

Another major benefit of yoga is that it can improve heart health in a couple of different ways for men. The cardio-based forms of yoga can increase heart rate and improve oxygenation, while the restorative forms of yoga can minimize stress and lower blood pressure. And since yoga can aid in weight loss, it’s easy to see how it can play a part in a man’s cardiovascular health.

What Are Alternatives to Yoga For Men?

Even though both men and women can benefit from yoga, that doesn’t mean this form of exercise is for everyone. Some men may have tried it and decided they just don’t like this type of exercise, and others may have religious views that don’t allow them to practice. Fortunately, there are several alternatives that can provide comparable, if not equal, benefits.

Martial arts - Martial arts are a great way to improve fitness, develop and strengthen muscles, increase energy, and boost confidence. If your reason for not liking yoga is that it’s too slow and mild for you, martial arts are a good option to try.

Rock climbing - Rock climbing is similar to yoga in that it focuses on the mind-body connection and controlled breathing. Rock climbing also helps to improve upper body strength and increase flexibility. Check out your local indoor facilities to give it a try.

Tai chi - The slow, controlled movements and poses of tai chi are designed to improve balance, posture, flexibility, and strength. Like yoga, tai chi can also help to reduce stress, improve moods, and alleviate pain.

Swimming - Swimming may not be similar to yoga in terms of physical exercise, but it can be just as beneficial when it comes to reducing stress, strengthening muscles, improving joint function, and relieving pain.

Bodyweight exercises - Bodyweight exercises use your body’s weight as resistance and are great alternatives to yoga. These include exercises such as push-ups, squats, burpees, and lunges. Bodyweight exercises can be helpful when you want to build muscle and improve overall strength.

Give Yoga a Try

From hot yoga to power yoga to yoga with goats, finding the style that will help you achieve your goals can be very confusing, but don’t worry. There are plenty of people who, when asked, will get you on the right path to success.

Don’t give up hope if you decide that yoga is not for you. As long as you find a workout that you enjoy and that you will stick with, it won’t take long before you start seeing the results you want.

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