Attempting to try a new exercise routine can feel intimidating, whether it is something you have thought about trying for years, or an impulsive decision. It’s not always easy, but stepping out of your comfort zone can be good for your body and keep your muscles from getting too complacent. One exercise routine that is gaining popularity is yoga.
An estimated 20 million Americans practice some form of yoga for exercise, and more than a third of those people are fairly new to the practice. Yoga is a gentler form of exercise that focuses on stretching and breathing, which can offer a number of benefits including increased flexibility and improved respiration.
There are many different types of yoga available for a range of experience and flexibility levels, as well as yoga practices designed for people who may have limited mobility due to a chronic illness, like multiple sclerosis. Many traditional yoga poses can be adapted to be performed in a seated position on a chair or laying on a bed, rather than sitting or laying on the floor. Yoga can offer specific benefits to individuals with MS by helping:
- Reduce fatigue
- Reduce spasticity
- Improve range of motion
- Improve balance
Yoga may not be for everyone, but if you are looking for something new to try as a way to stretch your muscles and get some exercise, look into yoga as a possibility*. If you are interested in learning more about yoga designed for people who have MS, check out our story from the Winter/Spring 2008 edition of The Motivator, Health and Wellness: Enjoying the Benefits of Yoga.
*As with any form of exercise, be sure to check with your physician before you begin a new workout routine.