According to the experts, there are four main principals of exercise that each person should incorporate into their personal workout routine! Practicing various forms of yoga certainly covers each of these four principals!
1. Aerobic: Jogging, using an elliptical machine, walking fast, and flow based yoga are all examples of aerobic exercise. As you get your heart pumping, the amount of oxygen in your blood improves, and endorphins, which act as natural painkillers, increase. Aerobic exercise also activates your immune system, helps your heart pump blood more efficiently, and increases your stamina.
2. Interval (Anaerobic) Training: Research has shown that the BEST way to condition your heart and burn fat is to alternate short bursts of high-intensity exercise with gentle recovery periods. This type of exercise, known as interval training or burst type training, can dramatically improve cardiovascular fitness and fat-burning capabilities. It also drastically decreases the amount of time you need to spend exercising. For example, intermittent sprinting (30 second bursts followed by 1-2 minutes of recovery) produces high levels of chemical compounds called catecholamines, which allow more fat to be burned from under your skin. Other examples of interval training include a 2 minute fast paced bike ride with a 4-5 minute recovery, or a series of fast paced vinyasa’s for 1-2 minutes followed by a 2-4 minute recovery. Intervals should be repeated ~5-10 times.
3. Strength Training: Within strength training, you need enough repetitions to exhaust your muscles. The weight should be heavy enough to exhaust the muscles within less than 12 repetitions, yet light enough to do a minimum of four repetitions. Yoga uses your body weight and proper positioning to achieve better results than you would receive by using artificial weights! Note: It’s also important NOT to exercise the same muscle groups every day. They need one to two days of rest to recover, repair and rebuild.
4. Core Exercises: Your body has 29 core muscles located mostly in your back, abdomen and pelvis. This group of muscles provides the foundation for movement throughout your entire body, and strengthening them can help protect and support your back, make your spine and body less prone to injury and help you gain greater balance and stability. Exercise programs like yoga, budokon, and pilates are GREAT for strengthening your core muscles.
5. Lastly, in addition to the four principals discussed, focusing on your breath, mindfulness, and increasing flexibility are an important element of your total fitness program