When we want to lose weight and think about starting an exercise program, we usually think of something aerobic, that burns calories. Yoga, with its slow movements and intricate positions, is about the last type of exercise we consider. But it turns out that yoga not only helps people lose weight, it helps keep it off.

Researchers questioned 15,500 men and woman between the ages of 45 and 55 and asked them if they took yoga and if so, how long they?d been practicing it. Yoga practice was defined as doing yoga for at least half an hour once a week for four or more years.

The subjects who were of normal weight at the age of 45 and did not practice yoga consistently gained about 10 pounds over the next decade, while those who performed regular yoga routines lost 3 pounds during that same ten-year period. There was an even wider gap between people who were overweight at the age of 45. The non-yoga group gained about 14 pounds, while the yoga group lost 5 pounds.

Researcher Alan R. Kristal says it’s is not likely that yoga’s fat-fighting potential is due to the physical activity itself. He says, “During a very vigorous yoga practice you can burn enough calories to lose weight, but most people don’t practice that kind of yoga. From my experience, I think it has to do with the way that yoga makes you more aware of your body. So when you’ve eaten enough food, you’re sensitive to the feeling of being full, and this makes it much easier to stop eating before you’ve eaten too much.”

Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk

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