Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight?
Healthy weight is a product of a healthy diet and active lifestyle. In order to lose weight, it is necessary to make lifestyle changes with both diet and exercise. Weight loss occurs simply when one exceeds the amount of energy taken in, and can be a product of fat loss or water weight loss. Weight loss is also heavily influenced by diet. When a healthy diet is accompanied by yoga, yoga practice helps aid in the weight loss process.

Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

Particularly when combined with adequate diet and exercise, yoga can help you lose weight. Yoga is a diverse form of fitness that can have varying levels of intensity. All levels of intensity in yoga benefit weight loss. Choosing an adequate diet and exercise routine that complement the intensity and frequency of your yoga practice will maximize weight loss results. Diet should contain varying ratios of protein, carbohydrates and fat to best complement the yoga exercises. If yoga is done at a low intensity biweekly for 1.5 hour time frames, to maximize weight loss results a higher caloric deficit and additional activities should be incorporated into this plan.

Why Choose Yoga for Weight Loss?

However, there are many benefits to low intensity and infrequent yoga. It is a calming activity that can replace snacking and reduce injury from other activity. If it is combined with a caloric deficit, it can be a calm transition to weight loss. This kind of plan is ideal for those who are seeking low activity weight loss or have recently experienced an injury. A diet to accompany this plan would include high protein (ideally from a plant based protein source), minimal to no simple carbohydrates and healthy fats, such as almonds and flaxseed oil. Yoga exercises that would accompany this kind of diet would not lead to exhaustion. The yogi should incorporate meditation, and focus on lengthening the amount of time spent in each position.

Yoga can aid in weight loss in moderate intensity when accompanied with a similar diet at a higher caloric intake. For some, a weight loss plan that focuses less on caloric deficit, moderate to high intensity and high frequency of yoga is a better fit. Yoga should be done at high intensity three times weekly and include additional cardiovascular exercise. Higher intensity styles of yoga include Vinyasa yoga and hot yoga, or Bikram yoga. Yoga is a really great compliment to running and high activity sports exercises. When these kinds of exercises are done in addition to yoga, a smaller caloric deficit is needed for weight loss. Another important consideration in yoga and weight loss is the kind of weight that is lost. Weight loss is always a combination of water weight loss, muscle loss and ideally, fat loss.

How to Practice Yoga for Weight Loss

The kind of diet and type of yoga has a considerable effect on the kind of weight lost. For example, if sodium intake is high and hot yoga is done frequently, it is likely that there will be more fluctuations in water weight loss. This can make it more difficult for the yogi to keep track of fat loss. Another detriment to keeping track of fat loss is muscle loss. When protein intake is low, muscle loss can occur in conjunction with weight loss if there is a caloric deficit. Weight loss timelines take careful planning, attention to goals and consideration of lifestyle preferences to determine the ideal system to maximize weight loss with yoga practice.

Sodium should be taken in moderation, especially when combined with hot yoga. Sodium should be replenished in moderation after hot yoga, as it is an essential electrolyte lost in sweat. It should be expected that while water weight may decrease dramatically after a hot yoga workout, fat weight will continue to decrease gradually and water weight gain may occur with water intake and sodium intake. It is more ideal to monitor weight on a biweekly or weekly basis. When a caloric deficit is included with yoga to obtain weight loss, adequate protein intake minimizes muscle loss and increases fat loss.

Now that we have considered all the aspects of weight loss as they relate to yoga, it is important to consider what kind of weight loss plan is most ideal for you! For example, if having a higher sodium intake is helpful in creating a caloric deficit, an ideal yoga plan to accompany this might include hot yoga as long as fluctuations in weight do not discourage the yogi, and gradual weight loss is monitored over a longer period of time. On the contrary, if lower sodium is more ideal and higher caloric intake is desirable, more frequent yoga with higher cardiovascular focus like vinyasa would maximize fat loss results. It is important to consult a doctor when choosing a weight loss plan and consider all aspects of lifestyle and diet when considering the best kind of yoga to maximize weight loss. That being said, in general yoga is highly beneficial to weight loss. It builds muscle, burns fat and is a meditative alternative to snacking!

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