Wednesday, October 12, 2011

CraZy for a ReaZon

I used to run marathons, but for the last two years I have done nothing but power yoga in a heated environment 3 or 4 times per week. I started wondering if my cardiovascular system was taking a hit due to the lack of typical cardio workouts. So, last Saturday I got with the people at T3 Training Systems for a direct VO2 Max test. I got on a treadmill wearing a heart rate monitor & some sort of gas mask thing on my face. VO2 Max is a measure of how fit an athlete is. It expresses the volume of oxygen a body consumes per minute. Athletic performance is directly related to the amount of oxygen supplied to the muscles.*

I was a little nervous because I tell people all the time that the kind of yoga we practice in the Cave is all you need to stay fit. Come on ujjayi breath! Don't let me down dog! (that was yoga humor) The results of the test were even better than I had hoped. In fact, my score was surprisingly high. For a woman my age, an excellent score is >41. My score was 54.  This would be excellent for a woman between the ages of 20-24. It's even an excellent score for a dude!*  My recovery heart rate was also good which is another indicator of an efficient cardiovascular system. Genetics does play a big role in VO2 capacity (thanks mom & dad).  But, all things considered, I am very pleased to say that I am more convinced than ever that if you want to stay fit & healthy - come to class regularly. AND if you want to get better at whatever sport or fitness activity you do - come to class regularly. AND if you want to live a long & healthy life - come to class regularly. AND if you want to work hard & get a little crazy at the same time - come to class regularly.  (the benefits won't show up unless you practice REGULARLY.  it's yoga practice, not yoga-one-time-will-fix-me)

AND if you need more convincing, here are some other benefits of a regular hot yoga practice:

•Increased muscle tone and stamina
•Increased metabolism and fat burning
•Improved lung capacity and circulation for better cardiovascular health
•Better posture
•Increased flexibility and lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons
•Better balance (which along with flexibility can help prevent injury)
•Better sleeping patterns
•Decreased muscle tension
•Increased focus and concentration
•Increased sense of vitality
•Decreased anxiety and depression



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