When you first get physically active, it’s not uncommon to experience joint pain. Your joints are moving in ways and directions they haven’t in a while!
But there’s good news. Stretching and active recovery movement like yoga both help prevent the discomforts that come along with getting back in the game. In fact, research suggests that yoga leads to better stress regulation and decreases depressive and anxiety symptoms. Yoga helps your joints, but it boosts your brain too, since stress, depression and anxiety are associated with cognitive decline.
Attention, processing speed and executive function processes are better after a yoga session, too. It sounds like yoga might be a cognitive health super cocktail!
How to get started stretching:
- Try neck and shoulder rolls when you take a break from a computer or while you watch TV.
- Use any wall to stretch out your shoulders and arms.
- Look on Youtube for short yoga videos. Start with 5 minutes a day once a week. (Yep, just 5 minutes.)
- Stretching counts as a physical activity if you’re keeping an activity log.
- Sign up for a yoga class. Don’t be intimidated. Beginner yoga classes are for people of all levels. If your strength or range of motion is compromised, most yoga studios offer chair yoga during which the chair supports your weight and helps you get into positions more easily.
- Gothe, N. P., & McAuley, E. (2015). Yoga and Cognition: A Meta-Analysis of Chronic and Acute Effects. Psychosomatic Medicine, 77(7), 784–797. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000218