Weight gain during menopause is normal. It is also frustrating, because the things that used to work don’t work anymore. Some women may turn to yoga for exercise. Yoga has many benefits. In this article I look at weight loss. Does yoga help with weight loss and if it does, how?
The calories burned in a yoga class depends on the type of class, the intensity and the length of class. A one hour class can burn 200 to 300 calories. This is not a large amount compared to other activities like running but its not insignificant.
Yoga can be an intense workout. If you are doing an astanga (power) yoga class or a hot yoga class you will probably burn more calories.
But its not all about the calories burned. Even gentle restorative classes have been shown to help with weight loss. The next session may help to explain why.
Yoga can help to reduce stress. Most people who do yoga on a regular basis report that yoga helps to reduce stress.
For many menopausal women stress causes weight gain either directly through the increased levels of cortisol and inflammation or indirectly through stress eating. A gentle yoga class allows you to relax and relieve the stress from your body and your mind.
Stress reduction of course has many other health benefits like reduced risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, dementia and digestive disorders.
Many strength building poses can help to build muscle. Having more muscle helps to slow age related declines in metabolism. And who doesn’t want the toned arms of a veteran yogini?
Standing poses help to build leg muscle and poses where you are supported on the arms help to build upper body strength.
If you are just starting with yoga, and are having trouble with the strength required for some poses you might want to supplement your yoga practice with some weight training. If you are really looking to build muscle, then a strength training program might be a better option.
Women who practice yoga sleep better. This is tied in with the stress reduction aspects of yoga. Since lack of sleep is also tied to weight gain, getting a good sleep also helps with weight loss.
You probably don’t want to do an intense yoga session too close to bed, but a gentle session or even a breathing session will help with sleep.
Physical activity helps with sleep, so any type of yoga session involving movement should have a positive effect on your sleep.
Yoga helps to develop mindfulness which can lead to more mindful eating. As we start to pay attention to how each pose is felt in the body and how the breath is felt, we become more mindful of what is going on in the body.
Mindful eating is a way of being more in tune with hunger cues, how food makes you feel and what food really tastes like. It helps with weight loss by helping you be more in tune with your eating habits.
Yoga can increase energy levels
Yoga classes can be designed to relax or to energize and sometimes they can do both. You may find that you go into a yoga class feeling tired and stressed and come out feeling energized. This extra energy means you are more likely to be more active the rest of the day. The key is choosing a class that is right for you.
Gentle yoga is fine if that is where you are at, or a more intense class might help to build your energy levels.
There are many reasons that yoga helps with weight loss. It is not just the calories burned in the class, but there are other benefits that indirectly help with losing weight.