Wellness Wednesday - Yoga

Today's Wellness Wednesday post is moving back to the realm of physical wellness. So far we've detailed two physical wellness posts - Patrick's experience with gym classes and my experience with the Fitbit. I thought it'd be nice to share the American College of Sports Medicine's stance on physical wellness and how we work to achieve it. And one part of that recommendation is yoga! For the first time ever, for both Patrick and myself, we are regularly practicing yoga. I'm aiming for twice a week (but sometimes it's just once a week) and Patrick tags along with me for one of those classes (but sometimes he's just every other week).

Before moving to the yoga practice, here's the ACSM recommendations on quantity and quality of exercise. Follow this link to read the news release which addresses aerobic, resistance, flexibility, and neuromotor exercise and links to the full position stand.

The overall recommendation is to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. To meet this wellness recommendation it must be viewed as a lifestyle choice. We are choosing to incorporate this into our lives not only because of the many health benefits exercise provides in the long term but it makes us feel more productive and gives us more energy in the short term. Always, as a reminder, if this isn't incorporated into your lifestyle please speak with your health professional before beginning any exercise program.

The ACSM breaks down the recommendations into 4 categories - cardiorespiratory exercise (getting your heartbeat up), resistance exercise (working your muscles), flexibility exercise (stretching), and neuromotor exercise (improving motor skills such as balance). Here are the specific recommendations for each category:
   Cardiorespiratory: 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week). One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise. Gradual progression of exercise time, frequency and intensity is recommended for best adherence and least injury risk. People unable to meet these minimums can still benefit from some activity.
   Resistance Exercise: Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment. Very light or light intensity is best for older persons or previously sedentary adults starting exercise. Two to four sets of each exercise will help adults improve strength and power. For each exercise, 8-12 repetitions improve strength and power, 10-15 repetitions improve strength in middle-age and older persons starting exercise, and 15-20 repetitions improve muscular endurance. Adults should wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions.
   Flexibility Exercise: Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion. Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort. Repeat each stretch two to four times, accumulating 60 seconds per stretch. Static, dynamic, ballistic and PNF stretches are all effective. Flexibility exercise is most effective when the muscle is warm. Try light aerobic activity or a hot bath to warm the muscles before stretching.
   Neuromotor Exercise: Recommended for two or three days per week. Exercises should involve motor skills (balance, agility, coordination and gait), proprioceptive exercise training and multifaceted activities (tai ji and yoga) to improve physical function and prevent falls in older adults.
20-30 minutes per day is appropriate for neuromotor exercise. 

Patrick and I have really taken an interest in incorporating these recommendations into our lifestyle. We realize our how important our wellness is in our daily pursuit of happiness and being content at the end of each day. The fitness classes at his gym do a great job of incorporating cardio and strength exercises. Patrick goes to at least 3 of those a week. I've been doing more jogging around our trails for cardio and some strength routines with dumbbells. So we both have to push extra hard to get in the flexibility and neuromotor exercises. This is where the yoga comes in!

Before we started our yoga practice I associated yoga with mindfulness and meditating. I had no idea that is was something recommended for everyone to include into their exercise routine. After learning about how important neuromotor exercises are I realized that we needed to start going to yoga regularly. I'm really liking the classes and feeling like my flexibility is improving but there are still a lot of poses I struggle with! Patrick doesn't like it quite as much but does feel like he is benefiting from it. It's also interesting to see and feel an improvement in one area because of something we've done elsewhere. The cardio, strength, flexibility, and neuromotor exercises are all connected. As we improve in one, we see benefits in the other. As an example increasing strength helps with executing some of the more challenging yoga poses.

What's your yoga practice like??
Thanks for sticking to this exercise and yoga ramble if you made it to the end!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this info. Very interesting and so important. We do a little yoga in my classes at Vinfit but not regularly. Will ask about adding more often.

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