If you still think cardio is the key to fitness, you might want to reconsider. Don’t get us wrong — the benefits of cardiovascular exercise are inarguable. But as we women age, it’s more important than ever to integrate weight-bearing exercise, including yoga, into our fitness routines. But if you only had time to do one yoga pose a day, which one should you choose? We have your answer: plank pose, because holding this yoga pose for just one minute a day has serious benefits.
Yoga Promotes Healthy Aging
Studies have shown that a regular yoga practice can contribute to healthy aging by improving things like mobility, balance, mental health, and cognitive function. The benefits are even known to slow aging at a cellular level, mainly because the combination of breathing and yoga poses results in lower stress levels.
But what if you don’t have extra time for a 30-minute yoga daily yoga practice? Could doing just one yoga pose a day for one minute boost your health? The answer is yes. And you only need a yoga mat and one minute. Everyone has a minute to spare, especially if it means strengthening your muscles, improving your posture, and increasing bone mass density. So what’s this magic pose? The plank. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t involve a pirate ship.
Why is plank pose so good for you?
This yoga pose is incredibly popular within the general fitness community, and is widely recommended for everyone. The last time I went to see a chiropractor, he told me to stop running and start doing — you guessed it — plank pose! I asked him how yoga was considered weight bearing, and didn’t I have to lift weights instead? (I hate lifting weights.) He told me that plank helps build bone mass, which I was losing through my cardio practice.
Because plank strengthens so many parts of the body at once, it’s one of the best poses to do regularly. The main muscle group that this yoga pose utilizes is the core. The core is made up of your abs, your obliques — which are your side abdominal muscles — and, perhaps most importantly, your transversus abdominis, which is your deepest ab muscle, and wraps around your sides to support your spine. Think of it as a cumerbund of sorts. Exercises that strengthen your core will keep your posture up, your belly firm, and your back pain-free.
How do you do plank pose?
Even though this yoga pose seems simple and easy to do, it’s important to have the right form when you do it, otherwise it won’t be nearly as effective. If you don’t know about Yoga With Adriene yet, check her out now: She makes yoga fun and accessible to anyone. There is no judgment; it’s like doing yoga with a sweet friend who is never condescending or threatening. With more than 10 million subscribers, she’s the most popular online yoga instructor the internet has ever seen.
Here she is below, showing how to do a plank yoga pose properly. Trust us, taking the time to learn the right way to do this pose will save you time in the long run!
Make sure to go slowly, use blocks if you need to. Yoga blocks, like this cute patterned one from Gaiam (Buy from Walmart, $7) help to provide stability and support. Last but not least, always, always listen to your body. If something hurts, stop. But if it feels great, keep it up — it just might turn your entire routine around, in one minute or less.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.