Yoga is soaring in popularity in the US – particularly among under-18s.
Figures released today by the CDC show that 14 percent of adults did yoga last year, up from 10 percent in 2012.
The increase was sharper for kids: in 2017, eight percent of four- to 17-year-olds had recently tried the practice, up from three percent in 2012.
But while the yoga trend takes off in the youngest generation, more and more adults are taking up meditation: last year 14 percent of adults meditated up from four percent in 2012.
Experts say yoga, meditation and some other forms of complementary medicine have been increasingly promoted as ways to reduce stress and anxiety and improve health.
For kids ages four to 17, eight percent had recently done yoga in 2017, up from three percent in 2012, according to the CDC. Meditation rates haven’t changed much, at six percent
The health benefits of yoga and meditation are widely documented.
One study by Boston Medical Center last year found yoga is just as good as physical therapy for lower back pain. Over the course of a year, 320 patients were given either physiotherapy or yoga classes. By the end, the results were the same.
In 2014, researchers at Harvard University found yoga is just as good for the heart as cycling. They studied 37 previous reports, including data on 2,700 people, and found yoga clearly improved health.
What’s more, it doesn’t require top physical fitness: it can be practiced in many ways, with adjustments possible for people with injuries or weakness.
Americans are latching on to these benefits for a number of reasons.
While mainstream doctors tend not to recommend natural therapies, more and more are suggesting yoga and meditation for patients to ease stress, limber up, and get their heart rate pumping.
Americans are living longer, making it more important than ever for Americans to set up their muscles and bones for good health in their elderly years.
Stress is also at a record high in all groups.
And with the advent of social media, more and more teens are body conscious, picking up workout classes earlier in life than previous generations – while posting selfies on Instagram in their workout gear.