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Yoga, functional and strength training: Can a mixed regime improve energy levels after 30?

1 Mar 2023

You can do compound movements such as squats and isolating movements such as leg extensions on some days and on other days you can do chest presses or cardio workouts.

Fundamentally, yoga addresses every issue of fitness, wellness and well-being and becomes the medium to arrive at every objective of excellence. That’s because it revitalises your heart, improves lung functions, improves circulation, flushes out impurities from all organs, regulates your functions and fortifies your systems. Yoga singularly can be responsible for age and ailment reversal.

But any routine could get repetitive and seem more like a task to be completed than about feeling food. So, there could be a mix of routines like functional training and calisthenics. Even cycling, jogging and swimming are full body workouts with proven results. The purpose of mixing routines is to ensure psychological well-being and regulate your mood and emotions. Bringing in more variety obviously has recreational value, which is very important for early starters so that they don’t get bored and drop out.

I would recommend dancing for many who are contemplating getting back into shape after a long time. This not only uplifts your mood, it addresses blood circulation, improves lung capacity and oxygenation, improves heart conditioning and makes you energetic.

Strength training is a must for women over 30, not necessarily with weights only. One can practise with body weights too. You can find solutions for the same in yoga, functional training and calisthenics. Every human loses 5.1 per cent of muscle mass annually, so weight training can help build muscle mass and keep it intact. Even the joints and ligaments get strengthened in weight training. You can do compound movements such as squats and isolating movements such as leg extensions on some days and on other days you can do chest presses or cardio workouts. Choose slow circuit training, which is a stimulant for all small and major muscle groups. You can go for low intensity, weight training with fewer weights and more reps.

Functional training focusses on compound movements and works all body parts efficiently, increasing agility. While doing planks, you are not just strengthening your core and abs, arms, glutes and legs, which are important for protecting your core organs, you are also improving your body’s endurance and stability. And all of this happens at the same time. If you learn how to stabilise your body, you will no longer be prone to accidental harm while pursuing regular activities during the day.

As you age, you may experience a decrease in flexibility and range of motion.

(1) Mobility exercises help you increase flexibility, muscular-skeletal strength and balance.

(2) Exercises are essential for brain fitness, mental health and mood management too. They will also help you cut down on life-threatening illnesses and avoid injuries.

(3) People who are committed to yoga and are interested and inclined towards self-evolution and self-mastery may never look out for other regimens but for beginners, initiation into yoga has to be graded. Tadasana, Bhujangasana, Parvatasana, double Pavanmuktasana and Naukasana, all five poses can certainly help. I will list the benefits.

(a) In Tadasana, you are reaching out to the sky, up on your toes, aligning your spine and stretching your fingertips high up. This expands your awareness and gives you proper control over body-mind movements and coordination.

(b) Bhujangasana: Typically when you arch your spine like a cobra, it activates the left and right brain, and with simultaneous nostril breathing, helps in focus, attention and alertness. It also helps in increasing neural firing.

(c) Parvatasana: While keeping your palms and feet on the ground and raising your torso up, you are actually strengthening your resolve and stimulating your intelligence.

(d) In double Pavanamuktasana, when one touches the head to the knees while breathing out, the core is sucked in tight, leading to strong inner core strength and becoming one with yourself.

(e) Naukasana steadies you, strengthens your core and confidence and increases your synaptic connections. While focussing on the centre of your core, you are focussing on the toes of your feet with both eyes. This makes you stable and steady.

All these asanas not just help in reducing stress but also improve memory, focus, attention, concentration and self-awareness. Asanas with regulated breathing exercises, like Nadi-shodhan and Brahmari, help you empty the mind of its clutter, refresh and revitalise you with positive thoughts.

Published in Indian Express

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