For centuries yoga has been a relaxation method that constantly seems to transform itself as new techniques are incorporated. Originally, yoga taught people how to reach spiritual and mental well-being through meditation. Today, the objective of yoga is to keep your spirit and your body healthy.
Yoga has gained recognition because it's great for getting in shape and motivating people to lead a healthy lifestyle.
According to researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, yoga not only improves your flexibility, but also helps you to maintain a healthy weight over time. Yoga can even help you lose unwanted pounds.
This is the first study of its kind and researchers were surprised by the results. People who practiced yoga regularly, lost around 5 pounds in 10 years. Furthermore, people of a normal weight who practiced yoga regularly, gained 3 pounds less than those who didn't practice yoga at all. Head researcher, Alan R. Kristal, affirmed that this is important because older people tend to gain 1 pound per year. This could help them to stop gaining weight.
In general, yoga helps you lose weight, however it's more effective when you practice it regularly as part of a healthy and active lifestyle.
Relaxation techniques used in yoga such as specific positions, breathing, and meditation appear to regulate hormones, emotions, and metabolism.
A person’s metabolism (the rate at which they burn calories) is controlled by hormones. The thyroid gland produces various types of hormones which help the body to burn calories. Yoga makes the thyroid gland work more efficiently, which in turn, increases metabolism. Other advantages include improved circulation, and the elimination of toxic substances from the body. Yoga is also beneficial for older people because it motivates them to do light exercise. Many older people stop doing physical activity completely because of aches and pains they have.
Yoga positions are very important because they increase the burning of calories, and help to alleviate stress, anxiety and worry. Meditation as practiced in yoga is very useful in overcoming negative emotions.
Dr. Kristal concludes that yoga indirectly facilitates weight loss because it teaches people healthy habits, physical discipline, and a general state of well-being.
Dr. Janine Blackman from the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland believes that yoga decreases hormones that contribute to high stress levels. This in turn also decreases resistance to insulin effects, which is one of the causes of abdominal overweight or obesity.
Both researchers agree that more studies need to be conducted in order make more solid conclusions. People who participated in the study didn't report what kind of yoga they practiced, and the information provided may not be exact due to inconsistencies in the memory and reporting of the participants.
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