by Sydney Boyce, MS, LAT, ATC, RYT200

If we’re Building Health this month, we have to tackle both physical and mental health, right? So let’s talk yoga. It’s here to build both at the same time! Yoga is a form of physical activity where you can strengthen, stretch, and improve physical mobility while combatting mental stresses and strains of work at the same time. Don’t knock it until you try it! Let’s uncover how yoga can be a game-changer for your daily work routine and overall health.

The practice of yoga can be a wonderful choice of movement and physical activity for many reasons. Yoga is a low impact activity which means it can be much easier on the joints compared to exercises like running, plyometrics, or lifting heavy weights. While these activities all have many benefits, a low impact choice can help to reduce stiffness, reduce stress to joint structures, alleviate arthritis pain, and stretch joint structures, leading to improved function and quality of life for those with chronic joint pain.

Additionally, yoga incorporates breathwork, enhancing core strength, relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, and regulating the body’s stress response. Engaging in physical activity, even mildly challenging, helps manage stress in all aspects of life.

Yoga uniquely combines:

  • functional strength
  • active and passive stretching
  • joint mobility
  • core stability
  • balance
  • proper posture
  • and strength work when a muscle is an elongated position (very important for injury prevention!)

Variations of yoga include slow and gentle classes like yin yoga, hatha yoga, and restorative yoga, as well as flow-focused classes like vinyasa yoga, power vinyasa yoga, slow power, and ashtanga yoga.

Although yoga benefits people of all ages and fitness levels, industrial athletes can particularly benefit from practicing yoga. In our setting, industrial athletes perform daily tasks such as sitting or driving for extended periods, repetitive tasks, heavy lifting, and overhead work. These activities can affect the function and health of your soft tissue structures and joints over time. By practicing yoga, a low-impact activity suitable for all fitness levels, you can help reduce the repetitive stress impacts on your body. Additionally, yoga is a fantastic way to de-stress, focus on your breath, and restore muscle length after a long day at work.

So what should you try first? Here are a few favorites to incorporate into your routine. Don’t worry if you fall out of the pose. Remember, instead of having your mind think, “Am I doing this pose right?” ask, “How does it feel?” Challenge yourself. Step outside of your comfort zone to try something new and feel the benefit between your body and mind.

Sydney Boyce, MS, LAT, ATC, RYT200|| Sydney received her education between King’s College (Wilkes-Barre, PA) and West Virginia University. She’s been in the industrial setting for 6 years and transitioned to Work Right with the recent acquisition of Occupational Athletics. Apart from work, she’s a workout junkie! She spends her evenings and weekends teaching power yoga and going on hikes with her chocolate lab, Reese!.

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips for the industrial athlete from Work Right NW!