Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

4 Low Impact Exercise Options

tai-chiAs we all know, regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But because of various injuries and/or health conditions, instead of running on a treadmill or jumping rope, many people must choose to participate in low impact activities. If you’re someone who is impacted by musculoskeletal issues ranging from tender joints to osteoarthritis, check out the four activity options below for healthy ways to stay active without all the wear and tear.


Swimming is a great way for everyone to stay active, but is especially well-suited for those seeking a low impact way to get or stay healthy. Stiff and sore joints can benefit from the buoyancy of water and the fact that your body bears less of its own weight when underwater. The increased resistance afforded by water (vs. air) means exercise can be even more effective in building not only strength, but also your range of motion.


Because the foundation of yoga is stretching, it is an ideal exercise option for those requiring low impact options for staying fit. The slow and gradual movements associated with yoga allow the body to gracefully ease into each position and ensure joints avoid taking on the heavy impact associated with many other forms of exercise. Yoga can help improve strength, balance, and flexibility, all while going easy on your body.


Cycling is a fantastic low-impact way of working cardiovascular exercise into your routine. Both indoor and outdoor cycling allow you to incorporate resistance training into your workout and get the heartbeat up to burn calories, build stamina and boost your overall health!

Tai Chi

Rooted in a combination of martial arts and meditation, tai chi provides core strengthening, balance and aerobic benefits, along with an opportunity to get in some time for deep breathing and stress relief as well. Leveraging slow, graceful movement, tai chi removes the impact from your workout and is easy on the joints while reducing stiffness and even improving your sleep!

These are some great options for low impact exercise. What are your other favorite low impact exercise options?

Health Benefits of Yoga

yoga-classDeveloped in India thousands of years ago, yoga has become an incredibly popular form of exercise in the United States. There are more than one hundred different types of yoga, and most focus on three core elements: breathing exercises, meditation, and assuming poses (or postures) that stretch and flex various muscle groups.

You’ve probably heard yoga is good for you. Maybe you’ve even tried it and found that you walked away feeling better than when you came in. Yoga not only feels great, but it’s also great for you, providing instant gratification and lasting transformation (if you stick with it!) But while you probably know that yoga can help you become more flexible, you may be surprised by the wide range of health benefits—both physical and mental—that yoga can help you achieve.

Physical Benefits

  • Builds muscle strength – Many yoga poses require you to support the weight of your own body in new ways, including balancing on one leg or supporting yourself with your arms. Poses such as downward dog, upward dog, and the plank pose, build upper-body strength. The standing poses, especially if you hold them for several long breaths, build strength in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and abs. Poses that strengthen the lower back include upward dog and the chair pose.
  • Improved flexibility – Typically the first and most obvious benefit of yoga, improved flexibility tends to be clearly evident, even to beginners. Moving and stretching in new ways helps to increase the range of motion and lubrication of joints, which is key to performing everyday activities with ease as you continue to age.
  • Posture – When you’re stronger and more flexible, your posture improves. Most of the standing and sitting poses develop core strength because your abdominal muscles are needed help support and maintain each pose. With a stronger core, you’re more likely to sit and stand tall.
  • Bone and joint health – It’s well known that weight-bearing exercise strengthen bones and helps ward off osteoporosis, and many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. Yoga also can have a significant effect on healthy joint function as certain poses promote the release of fluids while strengthening the muscles supporting vital joint systems.
  • Heart healthy – When you regularly get your heart rate into the aerobic range, you lower your risk of heart attack. While not all yoga is aerobic, if you do it vigorously or take certain classes (like Ashtanga), it can boost your heart rate into the aerobic range.
  • Breathing – Most of us take shallow breaths and don’t give much thought to how we breathe. Because most forms of yoga involve deep breathing and attention to our breath, lung capacity often improves. This in turn can improve sports performance and endurance.

Mental Benefits

Aside from the array of physical benefits, yoga also has some great mental benefits. Unlike more traditional forms of exercise, yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing help a person improve his/her mental well-being.

  • Stress reduction – One of the best benefits of yoga is how it helps a person manage the devastating effects of stress. Physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga. Yoga’s quiet, precise movements and emphasis on being in the moment can also help by taking the focus off external stressors. Many people leave yoga classes feeling less stressed than when they came in.
  • Body awareness – Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body, as you are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body, which can help with early detection of physical problems or ailments and allow for early preventive action.
  • Mental Calmness – Many of the breathing exercises practiced in yoga have been developed to calm and tame our seemingly endless stream of thoughts. This leads to greater concentration as you work your way through each pose—and, in most cases, a calmness that lasts the rest of the day.

If one or many of these benefits appeal to you, you should look into the various schools of yoga and determine which is right for you. The great news is that just about everyone can do it, too — body type and fitness levels do not matter because there are modifications for every yoga pose and beginner classes in every style. So get out there and give yoga a try; you may just be amazed at what it can do for you.

Gain Outer Strength & Inner Peace with Yoga

September is National Yoga Awareness Month! Last year around this time, we posed a question to our friends on Facebook, “There are many physical and psychological benefits realized from yoga. Because it’s National Yoga Awareness Month, we’re asking for your feedback. If you participate in yoga let us know what studios you recommend for others who are interested!”

Yoga Facebook Emory Healthcare

With about 12 million Americans participating in yoga and that number steadily on the rise, this time around, we’re outlining some of the benefits of participating in yoga, how you can join them and try yoga as a new student for free.

Health Benefits of Yoga

There are many styles and types of yoga, but despite their differences, there are similar health benefits provided by each. The poses and meditative nature of yoga provides opportunities for participants to build core strength, improve flexibility and balance, reduce stress, lose weight, manage and reduce symptoms of existing and chronic health conditions such as stress, anxiety, and osteoporosis, to name a few, and improve mental focus.

Atlanta Yoga Studios & One Free Week

If you’ve practiced yoga at a studio in Atlanta, and would like to shout them out or provide feedback, please feel free to use the comments area below! If you’re looking for a yoga studio in Atlanta, check out Yelp’s yoga listings.

National Yoga Awareness Month

To celebrate Yoga Month, the folks at the Yoga Health Foundation are offering one week of free yoga for beginners. You can search for yoga studios by city here.

We hope the above resources will inspire and prepare you to give yoga a try. Please consult with your physician before participating in yoga if you have an existing health condition that may be exacerbated by the practice of yoga. Again, we welcome your comments about all things yoga below. Namaste!