Does Yoga Burn Calories and Fat?

Does Yoga Burn Calories and Fat?
When looking to lose weight, most people don’t consider turning to yoga for assistance. Yoga is a widely regarded as a relaxing and calming exercise that focuses on flexibility and meditation, and fat is burned when the intake of calories is exceeded by the exertion of energy. However, when accompanied with a well balanced diet, yoga can be a way to exert energy and burn fat.

Does Yoga Burn Calories?

The amount of calories and fat burned during yoga depends on the intensity and length of the yoga workout. To maximize fat burning in yoga, it is important to increase the cardio activity of the practice. To increase cardio activity, it is important to transition frequently throughout poses and maintain poses for a shorter period of time. Vinyasa yoga, or flow yoga, is often effective in doing this. In a single Vinyasa, a yogi will transition through a series of poses in a continuous movement. The speed and exertion in each pose will increase fat burning.

How to Maximize Fat Burning During Yoga

Yoga focuses closely on breathing during exercise. Higher exertion is often accompanied by rapid and frequent breath. To achieve maximum fat burning in yoga, a yogi should monitor breathing and expect an increase in breath frequency, inhalation and exhalation. A yogi should maintain a continuous and gradual transition to increased breathing activity. When heavy breathing activity is achieved, maximum exertion is often reached and fat is burned. However, caloric intake is important to the exertion of energy and burning of fat.

If a meal that is moderate in caloric intake precedes a yoga exercise, then fat burning is maximized. If a large meal that is high in glucose precedes a yoga exercise, it is likely that the body will burn the glucose from the meal in the bloodstream before burning fat, delaying fat burning activity. Glucose is sugar and comes in many forms. Both simple and complex carbs are broken down into glucose. Simple carbohydrates include white bread, pasta and refined sugars. They are easily broken down by the body and released into the bloodstream. If a yoga exercise is preceded by a meal of refined carbs and sugars, the bloodstream will be high in glucose and there will be a delay in the body’s initialization of fat burning. The body’s fat stores are the last resource that the body resorts to for energy. Fat stores are also more difficult to convert to energy than glucose. That is why it is important that a healthy diet accompany yoga to burn calories and fat during exercise. If a meal of complex carbohydrates precedes yoga, it is more likely that fat burning will occur. Complex carbohydrates, like those found in apples, are broken down less easily to glucose. They will be available to the body as a source of energy for a longer period of time and keep us energized for longer. While the body works to break down complex carbohydrates, it will more likely resort to fat stores and engage in fat burning.

As with all healthy weight loss plans, a healthy diet must accompany yoga in order to achieve maximum fat burning. A great benefit to burning calories and fat through yoga as opposed to other exercises is that yoga is less likely to over-exert energy. If energy and fat burn is over-exerted, exhaustion can occur. If an exercise leads to exertion, the body requires more time to recover. To burn calories and fat, repeated exercise and energy exertion is essential. Yoga is a great fitness for fat burning because it is less likely to over-exert the body than lengthy and intense cardio exercises, allowing the body to engage in fat burning more frequently.

*Photo courtesy of Koya Webb.

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