Yoga has also been proven to elevate glutathione, and total antioxidant levels in a number of studies. Glutathione is the major endogenous antioxidant produced by the cells, participating directly in the neutralization of free radicals and reactive oxygen compounds. It is also responsible for maintaining exogenous antioxidants such as vitamin-C and vitamin-E in their active forms.
Practicing yoga will also help minimize sensations of stress. For example, one study split a group of young men in the Navy into a group that either performed yoga a few times a week for six months, or a second group that did aerobic training. At the end of the study, the group that did yoga had higher glutathione levels, indicating less inflammation and biological stress, and higher total antioxidant levels. The group that did aerobic training had their total antioxidant levels drop significantly from the start of the study, highlighting the fact that steady-state exercise causes stress that will compromise the immune system and health.
I would like to add that having taken a look at this study, it would appear that if the stress markers that were under study were all lowered through the practice of yoga, it stands to reason that yoga could very conceivably be a method of gaining muscle mass as well. If stress is reduced, so are the markers of stress such as the catabolic hormone cortisol. When cortisol is not being produced, our body is much more likely to remain in an anabolic state.
Through this anabolic state, the benefit of remaining youthful is also attainable. The generation of new tissue brings with it the advantage of slowing the aging process to an almost complete stop. If our bodies are still growing new tissue, then we aren’t declining physically.
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