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All your efforts are not in vain. Here are a few science-backed benefits of doing yoga.

Around the world, it is estimated that at least 300 million people practise yoga on a daily basis. Today, we delve deeper into the science-backed benefits of doing yoga.

Related: 13 Yoga Mats For Every Type Of Yogi

1. It reduces stress and anxiety

Yoga has proven to reduce stress and relieve symptoms of anxiety. Typically, stress and anxiety are caused by the high levels of adrenaline and cortisol that elevate blood pressure. 

According to a study, people who practise yoga every day have low cortisol levels. A 2010 research has also shown that yoga improved mood and anxiety levels more than running or walking because bodies produce higher gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that blocks certain brain signals and decreases activity in your nervous system.

See also: 4 Apps For Mental Health Support At Home

2. Manages depression

Depression is a sensitive and broad topic that is often addressed through medication and talk therapy. However, a 2017 systematic review found that yoga is able to reduce depressive symptoms especially in people with depressive disorder, pregnant, and postpartum women.

The most common signs of clinical depression are loss of interest, a seemingly hopeless outlook in life, increased fatigue and sleeping problems, anxiety, and irritability. 

Related: 6 Habits Supported By Science For Better Health

3. Relieves lower back pain

Lower back pain affects people ages 30 and up. This seemingly harmless symptom of ageing affects people's abilities to do simple tasks such as exercising and sleeping. Good thing yoga helps relieve back pains in just 12 weeks. One study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that yoga, if regularly practised in 12 weeks, lessens the intensity of back pain among military veterans.

The Annals of Internal Medicine also found out that yoga is just as effective as physical therapy in relieving back pains.

Related: 4 Full Body Exercises You Can Do At Home, By Pilates Instructor Siu Lim

4. Prevents heart disease

Yoga is more than just stretching. A review of yoga and cardiovascular disease published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology indicated that yoga can actually prevent heart diseases by regulating a person's body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, and blood pressure. 

5. Builds strength

With regular yoga practise, people can lift their body weight and discover muscles they didn't know they had. One study from the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine showed that 79 adults who performed 24 cycles of sun salutations experienced a significant increase in upper body strength and endurance.

See also: Julie Woon Finds Her ‘Fit’ During The Covid-19 Pandemic

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