Yoga vs. Stretching: Science Says This Is Better For Well-Being

Not to knock stretching (which is a key component of a healthy recovery routine), but yoga seems to have additional benefits that researchers are hoping to study in the future. They may have something to do with yoga’s focus on the breath and mind-body connection, which differentiates it from stretching alone. As a lead investigator Paul Poirier, M.D., Ph.D., explained in a news release, “Our study shows that structured yoga practices can be a healthier addition to aerobic exercise than simply muscle stretching.”

Everyone’s ideal movement routine will be a little different. But if you’re a busy person looking to get the most benefit in the shortest amount of time, turning on a 15-minute yoga video may be more effective than a 15-minute stretching routine (especially if you’re craving some relaxation and stress relief).

If you’re looking for more inspiration to get on the mat, know that in addition to cardiovascular health, yoga has been shown to benefit bone and joint health, which are key to staying limber and active throughout your life. 

To support mobility and healthy bones and joints, you can start with this 15-minute yoga routine—which is the same duration as the yoga session in the study. Combine it with other mobility-supporting habits like eating high-quality proteins and healthy fats and taking a supplement that supports joint health and fends off inflammation that can sabotage your mobility. Here’s a list of solid options to start with.

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