How to lose weight: Can yoga help you lose weight?
Yoga is a popular fitness trend at the moment, with frustrated Brits turning to the ancient Indian practice to take away their worries. Here’s what you need to know about losing weight from yoga.
Can yoga help you lose weight?
Scientific research is increasingly showing the link between yoga and weight loss.
How many calories you burn depends on the type of yoga you do, how long you do it for, and your gender.
A yoga session tends to burn anywhere between 180 to 460 calories.
Researchers in one US study of more than 15,000 healthy men and women aged between 53 and 57 found that yoga does help you to lose weight.
Those of the group who were overweight but did at least one yoga session a week lost about five pounds over ten years. Those who didn’t do yoga gained nearly a stone.
The Government recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week, but most forms of yoga are not strenuous enough to count towards this.
Pair your practise with 150 minutes of walking a week and you’re good to go!
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Which type of yoga burns the most calories?
Hatha yoga, one of the more common types of yoga, moves at a slower pace.
If you’re trying to fit back into those skinny jeans, Hatha might not be the quickest way to get there.
Bikram or hot yoga may be a better option, burning 460 calories in men and 330 in women on average.
This style is practised in a heated room and is normally an hour and a half long.
Ashtanga yoga, on the other hand, can burn 300 calories in just half an hour. This is more than tennis or swimming.
If you do yoga a few times a week to the point where your heart rate is up and you are sweating, you will definitely lose weight.
How does yoga help you lose weight?
According to the NHS website, weight gain occurs when you regularly eat more calories than you use through normal bodily functions and physical activity.
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you are eating.
There are many types of exercise that burn more calories than yoga, but a 2016 study suggested that yoga helps you to control how much you eat.
The researchers found that developing mindfulness through yoga may help people:
• resist unhealthy foods
• resist comfort eating
• resist stress eating
• be more in tune with their body so they’re aware when they’re full
• have fewer cravings
• have a reduced appetite
• have improved self-esteem and mood
• reduce back or joint pain that had been prohibiting additional exercise
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Another study found that those who practise yoga are more likely to eat mindfully.
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center study suggested those who practise yoga are more aware of why they ate and to stop eating when full.
Yogis were also found to weigh less than those who ate when they weren’t hungry, or in response to anxiety or depression.
The conclusion was that the increased body awareness learned through yoga had more impact on participants’ weight than the exercise itself.
Does yoga help you sleep?
Did you know you burn calories while you sleep? If you don’t sleep enough, you won’t burn as many calories.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, yoga helps you to drift off to sleep easier.
If you practise yoga daily, you may find you fall asleep faster, sleep for longer, and return to sleep faster if you wake up during the night.
This combination of mindfulness and better sleep will help you live a healthier lifestyle and keep weight off.
How much weight can you lose by doing yoga?
Exactly how much weight you lose by practising yoga depends on many factors, including lifestyle habits and diet.
Yoga is not a miracle cure to lose weight fast and will not make much difference if your diet is poor.
Those who lose weight gradually, about one to two pounds a week, are more successful at keeping it off.
Eat a healthy diet and practise mindfulness alongside your yoga sessions and you will see the result you want.
What are the health benefits of yoga?
According to the NHS website, dozens of scientific trials have been published on the impacts of yoga.
Most of these studies suggest yoga is: “a safe and effective way to increase physical activity, especially strength, flexibility and balance.”
There is also evidence that regular practise is beneficial for those with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains – including lower back pain – depression, and stress.
Yoga also improves your balance by strengthening your lower body, reducing your chances of falling.
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