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03 Feb 2004

Asthanga yoga not excercise??
Dear FitnessDoc,
We are in our early 30's and part of our company's 'health incentive' for execs is that we pariticpate in regular excercise programs. Problem - we do 4 - 5 hours of Asthanga per week (every week, no cheating!) and apparently the 'health and fitness' fraternity see yoga as beneficial for flexibility but having no real fitness benefits. Is this true or are we dealing with an ill informed 'fitness' assessor?
Answer 424 views

01 Jan 0001

I don't want to be harsh on something like yoga, because it's done a lot of good for a lot of people, but I think that the problem here lies in the definition of fitness. I think that the assessor has looked at fitness as cardiovascular status, or a fitness with regards to the heart, blood lungs etc. That is, the type of fitness that you would think of when discussing running or cycling etc. On the other hand, you can define fitness as flexibility, balance, and stability, and these are traits that yoga develops. So, depending on your view point, both are good for fitness. However, my opinion is that for the health aspects, the fitness that is usually spoken of is the cardio fitness. In otherwords, all our research that points towards a longer, healthy life with increasing fitness levels is referring to cardio type fitness. The flexibility, stability and balance are also vital, and certainly worth a good deal, but should perhaps not stand alone as the only 'fitness' training being done. Instead, yoga should perhaps form part of a integrated fitness programme which includes cardio training, as this would then incorporate every possible definition of fitness.

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