With technological advancements taking place every day, life has become so much easier than ever before. On the flip side, however, our modern lifestyle is a sedentary one, which is taking a toll on our health, physically, socially, and psychologically. Humans are designed to move. But, if we compare ourselves with our parents or grandparents, most of our time is spent in environments that demand limited physical activity and prolong sitting, be it at work, home and transport.
So, why is physical inactivity harmful? Physical inactivity restricts us from burning calories, taking us on the path to obesity. Increased weight is a major risk factor for myriad diseases, including various types of cardiovascular ailments. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the underlying cause for one out of every 3 deaths in the US, taking an average of one life every 40 seconds in the country. If physical inactivity persists for a prolonged time, it could also contribute to depression and anxiety, along with certain cancers.
But People Hate Exercising
Adults should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. Moreover, they should invest one hour and 15 minutes in vigorous-intensity activity each week, along with occasional muscle-strengthening activities, such as push-ups and lifting weights. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, only 51.7% of American adults meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity, whereas only 21.7% meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.
But why don’t we like to exercise? People often blame their hectic schedule for not being able to take time out to exercise. However, an article by Psychology Today has the real answer, which is that people resist exercise due to their desire to avoid any experience of discomfort. Sweating, being out of breath, the hair getting messed up, sore muscles, dirt, blisters, and calluses are all inevitable in regular exercising in a gym or in the outdoors.
So, people are not actually avoiding exercise, they are avoiding the associated discomforts. If this is true for you too, there is something that can get you on your feet without making you feel such discomfort.
Yoga: The Modern Day Workout
According to the 2016 Yoga in America Study, conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, Yoga is a thriving, growing industry in the US. In 2012, there were about 20.4 million yoga practitioners in the country, a number that grew to 36.7 million in 2016. It was also added that convinced of the advantages of yoga, 34% Americans admitted to wanting to try yoga in the next 12 months.
In addition, Statista added that by 2020, the number of people practicing yoga in the US is expected to cross the 55 million mark. Statista also published that in 2015, America generated $9.09 billion in revenue from the yoga industry alone, which is expected to reach over $11 billion by 2020.
Let us try to understand what is making the sedentary American take up yoga. This practice essentially entails a series of physical and mental exercises. The physical exercises are covered by various yoga postures or ‘asanas' that require a lot of stretching and bending. Yoga also includes ‘pranayama' or breathing exercises, along with ‘dhyana mudra’ which de-stresses the mind and makes it calmer, explains a yoga instructor at New York Health & Racquet Club (NYHRC). He added that both these aspects of yoga are easy to achieve and don’t require much physical effort.
Yoga is very good for weight loss too. Regular practice builds muscle strength, increases flexibility, and most importantly, relieves stress, while enhancing body awareness. All these benefits are making yoga classes highly popular amongst people of all age groups.
Yoga is an easy and effective way to combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, definitely worth investing time and effort in.
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