“Yoga: It’s not just for Sissies” was my other title. But then I started to think about who I’ve ever met who actually thought yoga was for sissies. And I can’t come up with anyone.
So why does yoga sometimes get a bad rap?
Yoga is actually pretty difficult, and you get some nice strength benefits and some crazy great flexibility benefits and different types can improve your cardiovascular fitness as well. That right there is the fitness trifecta: cardiovascular training, strength and muscle work, and flexibility. Woop; there it is!
Not to mention improvements in your physical balance and for some, mental balance as well. (Bonus!)
Researchers (love those researchers) in India took a look at a group of 123 type 2 patients. They divided the 123 into four groups, according to those with microvascuar complications, with macrovascular complications, with peripheral neuropathy and without complications. They then subdivided the groups into those who received standard care and those who received standard care plus yoga for three months. They then compared the health of those in the care + yoga group with the standard care group. (Not sure what “standard care” is for type 2s in India but I’ll assume it isn’t much different than in the US.)
The point they were trying to study was whether or not performing yoga reduced oxidative stress on the body in type 2 individuals. (I looked for a good definition of “oxidative stress” and found: Oxidative stress is the total burden placed on organisms by the constant production of free radicals in the normal course of metabolism plus whatever other pressures the environment brings to bear (natural and artificial radiation, toxins in air, food and water; and miscellaneous sources of oxidizing activity, such as tobacco smoke). I like it.)
Since oxidative stress is in a lot of ways how damage occurs in our bodies, it’s good to see that we have options to fight it! Of course, eating well and not smoking are key here, but so is exercise.
Back to the study: they found that the groups performing yoga for three months in addition to receiving standard care for their type 2 diabetes had a significant reduction in their BMI (they lost weight), glycemic control was better (exercise=better BG management), and they had increases in vitamin C and other critical antioxidants that typically decrease with age.
So if you’re struggling with your diabetes, I would say be it type 2 or type 1 or any one of the other types, give some yoga a try. You just might like it, and you’re sure to love the side effects!