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What exercises build strength and flexibility?

Just about all styles of yoga build strength and flexibility. However, you can focus on forms of Eastern exercise that incorporate stretching, holding poses, and gently exerting yourself for extra power.

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Iyengar yoga: Yoga is a discipline that connects the mind, body, and spirit by requiring you to move through different physical postures while meditating and focusing on breath work. There are many styles of yoga. With Iyengar yoga, you hold your postures for a longer period of time compared to other yoga styles, which increases the strength demands required to complete an Iyengar series. Start with a beginner class.

T'ai Chi: T'ai chi is a meditative exercise that requires you to pay close attention to your breathing while completing a series of choreographed, slow, fluid, and continuous dance-like movements. It is a gentle physical exercise that is easy on the joints.

Chi-gong (Qigong): Chi-gong is an exercise that focuses on breath work, while incorporating meditation and very gentle, slow physical movements. The focus is on breathing naturally, moving easily, and imagining energy traveling through your body.

Health Benefits: Multiple studies have revealed the ability of yoga to increase flexibility and strength. Being strong and flexible has a host of beneficial effects on your overall health, including helping to maintain your energy levels, improving your ability to accomplish daily tasks, and reducing your risk of injury. Strength and flexibility are vital for balance and minimizing falls. T'ai chi also is used to improve balance and strength, and is particularly effective for older people with strength and flexibility issues. However, t'ai chi may benefit the health of both young and middle-aged participants. And the moderately intense aerobic element of this exercise has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure.

Chi-gong offers similar health benefits to t'ai chi. T'ai chi may offer a slightly better training effect than chi-gong because it's slightly more intense. However, if you prefer the gentler chi-gong, it also has been credited with improving strength and flexibility and reducing blood pressure.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.