Weight Loss with HEALTHeME

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yoga for Weight Loss

Yoga for weight loss.

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America is in the midst of an obesity epidemic. And, it seems as though we have decided to combat the growing weight of our nation by focusing on diet, what we should and should not eat. We have relegated exercise to after-thought status, something to do when we have more “free time”. Which leaves me wondering: How’s that working for us?

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 64% of Americans are overweight or obese, and the number is growing as quickly as our waistlines. The CDC also reports that only about 50% of adults meet the physical activity recommendation of accumulating 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Painting a more disheartening picture is this statistic:  

"25% of Americans report getting ZERO added physical activity each week."

The media and many public health campaigns have spent a lot of time and energy focusing on America’s diet, making it public enemy #1, the root cause of the obesity epidemic. In fact, one recent study suggests that more people rely on making dietary changes than exercise to lose weight.

Maybe we’ve gravitated to a diet-only approach for weight loss because it’s just easier to eat a little less or skip the fries than to carve out 30 minutes in an already busy day to exercise. But, as any carb-deprived dieter will tell you, weight loss is hard when you're focusing on diet alone. Here’s the reality: you have to focus on both diet and exercise to lose weight and keep that weight off. Although you may feel too overwhelmed by your day to workout, if you take the time to exercise, you’ll actually have a lot more time – like years – to check items off of your to-do list! According to one recent study, improving your fitness level is more important than weight loss or decreasing your body mass index (BMI) in terms of reducing your risk of heart disease.

No more excuses! It’s time to get up and get moving. Here are some tips to help you fit exercise into your daily routine:
  • Schedule it. Whether you need to make it to a 6:30pm Yoga class, meet a friend for a workout at lunch, or just get up a few minutes early to go for a walk, you need to assign as much priority to your workout as you would a meeting with a client at work.
  • Split it up. Splitting your yoga into smaller segments allows you to “squeeze” your yoga in where you find little windows. According to one classic study, short bouts of exercise were as effective as a more traditional, continuous exercise session in terms of weight loss.
  • Fight fat with a friend. Social support is a key factor in the likelihood of weight loss success. Skip the coffee and catch up with your friends while practicing yoga.
  • Set a goal. Whether it's registering for a 5K or splurging on a new pair of jeans, establishing a goal, complete with a timeline and reward once you're successful, will keep you moving even when you're tempted to skip yoga.