Maximize Your Flexibility – The Health Benefits of Yoga

Posted on 10/01/2018 at 08:12 AM by Sarah Bancroft, DO

Sarah Bancroft, DO
Family Medicine
Sports Medicine

The practice of yoga started about 5,000 years ago. As this practice moved to America and has grown in popularity in the last several decades, researchers have found some amazing health benefits from practicing yoga.

Wendy, a yoga instructor at Ignite Yoga in Ames, says her yoga journey began several years ago when her knees were really giving her problems.

“My knees really began to show enormous signs of wear and tear,” she says. “I had the knees of a 90-year-old woman. I used to lay in bed at night with my knees throbbing, and the Advil would wear off, and I was like, ‘What do I do now?.’ Rather than a knee replacement, I just went, ‘I can do this.’

“What I did was really delve into yoga and made sure that I was doing proper alignment, learning how to do things properly, how to engage certain muscles in very basic poses.”

As sports medicine providers, we try to look at the entire person we are seeing and make sure that we are up to date on all types of treatment that can benefit our patients. Poor flexibility, balance and strength can lead to injuries or poor recovery when injured, so yoga can be a wonderful addition to a person’s treatment plan.

“I really think that anybody can stretch your quads and strengthen them,” says Wendy. “If you have any lower back issues, we have so many poses that will help you strengthen your core, strengthen your back, and poses for posture. Yoga has a wealth of poses and help for anybody.

People of all ages can benefit medically from yoga. Studies have shown great improvements in flexibility, balance and strength.

Says Wendy, “I don’t have cortisone shots anymore. I don’t take Advil anymore. I’m better now that I was six or seven years ago, and it’s just been a wonderful transformation.”

With a good instructor, a person of any level of fitness can walk into a brand new class and gradually work to accomplish their personal and physical health goals. And Wendy says there’s no need to feel intimidated.

“I know there are people who are intimidated by yoga,” she says. “They say, ‘Oh it looks so strange. You have to be a pretzel to do it,’ and it’s really the exact opposite. It’s just all about the journey. It’s all about just being present and working really hard and breathing through it. Just like life, right?”

Of course yoga isn't the only way to improve your flexibility, strength and balance. If you have a persistent problem with your joints, muscles or bones, schedule an appointment with us at McFarland Sports Medicine.

Reach Out to McFarland Sports Medicine

Make this your year of fitness goals that help you Maximize your Health! We would love to hear your success stories, so reach out to us in the comments or look for McFarland Sports Medicine on social media!

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