Yoga May Prevent Weight Gain in Middle Age
Researchers Say Middle-Aged Men and Women Who Practice Yoga Gain Less Weight
WebMD News Archive
July 22, 2005 -- Practicing yoga can help prevent the dreaded middle-age
spread and even shed unwanted pounds.
A new study shows that normal weight adults who practiced yoga regularly
gained an average of 3 pounds less between the ages of 45 and 55 than those who
didn't practice yoga.
Meanwhile, overweight adults who practiced yoga lost an average of 5 pounds,
and those who didn't gained about 14 pounds during the same time period.
Researchers say men and women between the ages of 45 and 55 typically gain
about a pound per year, as their energy needs decline, without a similar
decrease in the number of calories they consume.
They say it's the first study to look at the effects of yoga on weight loss
and suggest that overweight people may have the most to gain from regular yoga
Balancing Mind and Body
In the study, researchers examined the impact of yoga on weight change in a
group of 15,550 adults aged 53-57. The participants provided information on
physical activity (including yoga) and weight change between ages 45 and
The results appear in the current issue of Alternative Therapies in
Health and Medicine.
Normal weight men and women who practiced yoga regularly (at least one
session of 30 minutes or more per week) for four or more years gained an
average of 3 pounds less than those who didn't practice yoga (9.5 pounds vs.
Among overweight men and women, those who practiced yoga regularly lost an
average of 5 pounds from ages 45-55; those who didn't practice yoga gained
about 14 pounds.
Listening to Your Body
Researchers say yoga's effect on weight loss and maintenance may have more
to do with body awareness than the actual calories burned during the average
"During a very vigorous yoga practice you can burn enough calories to
lose weight, but most people don't practice that kind of yoga," states
researcher Alan D. Kristal, DrPH, professor of epidemiology at the University
of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, in a news
"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."