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hat is yoga?
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses
on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost
physical and mental wellbeing. The main components
of yoga are postures (a series of movements designed
to increase strength and flexibility) and breathing. The
practice originated in India about 5,000 years ago, and has
been adapted in other countries in a variety of ways. Yoga is
now commonplace in leisure centres, health clubs, schools,
hospitals and surgeries.
What are the health benefits of yoga?
Dozens of scientific trials of varying quality have been
published on yoga. While there's scope for more rigorous
studies on its health benefits, most studies suggest yoga
is a safe and effective way to increase physical activity,
especially strength, flexibility and balance. There's some
evidence that regular yoga practice is beneficial for people
with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains
including lower back pain depression and stress.
Does yoga contribute towards my 150 minutes
of activity?
Most forms of yoga are not strenuous enough to count
towards your 150 minutes of moderate activity, as set out
by government guidelines. However, yoga does count as
a strengthening exercise, and at least two sessions a week
will help you meet the guidelines on muscle-strengthening
activities. Activities such as yoga and tai chi are also
recommended to older adults at risk of falls to help improve
balance and co-ordination.
Can yoga help prevent falls?
Yes. Yoga improves balance by strengthening your lower
body, in particular your ankles and knees, thereby reducing
your chances of falling. However, falls may sometimes be
caused by a health condition, in which case it's a good idea
to see your GP or visit a falls clinic at a local hospital.
Can yoga help with arthritis?
Yoga is popular with people with arthritis for its gentle way of
promoting flexibility and strength. Some research suggests
All you need to know to get
started with yoga, including
the health benefits, yoga
styles for beginners, and
finding a yoga class