Stress is one of the biggest contributors to the aging process, robbing you of precious sleep, increasing harmful inflammation, damaging your DNA, and even causing wrinkles. But yoga can be one of your best stress-busters: Studies have shown that yoga reduces markers of oxidative stress, a condition that can accelerate damage linked to aging. Yoga also improves flexibility, which deteriorates over time as the tissues that support your joints stiffen, and relieves back pain, so you move more easily.
Best of all, you don’t need a ton of time to reap these rewards, so long as you stay consistent. Daily yoga practice—even just 10 minutes a day—carries a greater benefit than a weekly class because you’re fighting that stress a little at a time, says Carol Krucoff, a yoga therapist with Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham, NC, and creator of the CD Healing Moves Yoga. Do it first thing in the morning, she adds, and you’ll increase energy, release tension, and start the day off right.
|What to do:|
The moves in this 10-minute routine are scientifically shown to fight stress. For each pose, inhale slowly and deeply through your nose for 5 seconds; exhale slowly for another 5. Try to clear your mind and allow yourself to focus on nothing but your breath moving through your body. Repeat this breathing pattern 3 to 6 times, then move to the next pose.
Daily (It’s only 10 minutes!)
What you’ll need:
A workout mat, yoga block or phone book, and some folded bath towels or blankets (optional).