Yoga me beautiful: is flexibility the new fit?
Exercise fads change even more frequently than the “new black”, with the miracle of the moment seeming to be anything that will get your body to fold like a pac-a-mac; however, have we gone so far down the road of flexibility that no matter how much yoga you do, you can’t bend back to the goal of fitness?
Yoga, pilates, yogalates, even aerial yoga (is a thing); the list of sports with the fundamentals of flexibility carries on growing, as does our eagerness to try more unusual positions to “lengthen muscles”. There was a time when the word “yoga” immediately brought small Buddhas, beads and a lot of humming to mind, but now with the image of leggings, leotards and ridiculously flexible 30-odd women, is the slightly more glamorous appeal getting us carried away?
The regimes all have the same ultimate ambition, as does any form of exercise, to be fit, although many people believe the false promises of the toned, naturally slim woman on the front of the exercise DVD, and believe that stretching alone will maintain a healthy body. In a 50-minute hatha class of yoga, you would only burn around 145 calories, with that only raising to around 250 in power yoga, with the results not being much different in pilates with burning around 175 in a beginner class and 255-375 in an advanced one. Comparing that with the possible 550 calories that could be burnt from a 50-minute jog, it’s apparent that the exercises aren’t necessarily healthy for the heart.
But all hope is not lost there; yoga and the like are renowned for the miracle qualities they possess. The exercises utilise all parts of your body at once, with all of them engaging your core which helps stabilise your body, and even if you’re not into the whole “achieving inner peace”, it’s proven that yoga actually reduces stress, along with relieving muscle pain and strengthening muscles also.
Even if this is just a fad, it would be hard to so easily let go of all the benefits it brings to you. Despite having to do other cardio exercise on top of it, there are an assortment of advantages that the exercises bring to your body, and your mind. So maybe there are few that cling on to fashions gone by, but there will be a lot of out-of-date exercise fanatics when another new sport comes in.
Exercise classes for yoga and pilates are available in most areas – if not, then an array of DVD’s can be purchased to practice it safely, at home.