If I told you the best exercise for Weight Watchers was yoga would you believe me?
I'm not sure I would have believed it back 15 years ago when I started doing yoga to help with severe back pain and sciatica.
But I sure believe it now. I'm living proof!
By regularly practicing yoga, sharing yoga with others and walking my dog, at
52 54 I'm in the best shape of my life.
So, imagine my delight when I read the following in this month's Weight Watchers Magazine (September/October 2015):
Q: If you could only choose one kind of exercise to do on a daily basis what would it be?
A: Yoga. Specifically, ten sun salutations every day, beginning at a slow pace and then progressing to faster one, completing each posture in a single inhale or exhale before transitioning to the next posture.
Within the sun salutations, you can follow a sequence of poses know as a Vinyasa yoga flow.
Build upper body strength with the chatting dandasana, plank pose.
You can also open the hips and lengthen the hamstrings through the warrior 1 pose, which is essentially a front lunge with your back heel turned down to the floor and your arms raised over your head.
If you're just starting, choose a type of yoga that's best for you: fast-paced Vinyasa, slower hatha, or restorative and search for a studio that specializes in that kind so that you can perfect your form and prevent injury. - Judy Kuan, Wello Trainer
Watch this video to learn 3 easy yoga poses for WW to get you moving more:
Why is Yoga the Best Exercise for Weight Watchers?
Quick diets and fitness fixes don't work because they contribute to a short attention span. When the diet and workout plan is over, your attention fades and you go back to old patterns.
Maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy attitude is all in your attention. A regular yoga practice will train your attention and keep your body and mind healthy, focused and calm for the long haul.
I've tried lots of different workouts through the years.
I've joined gyms. Attempted to jog. Lifted weights. Sweat it out doing aerobics. Worked out with personal trainers. Tried Jazzercise. Zumba. Spinning (just once.)
Yoga (and walking) have been my primary forms of exercise for several years. Yoga produced the most amazing feeling.
Lots of other exercise left me in a sweaty heap.
With yoga I felt energized and relaxed at the same time. Cravings and compulsions to eat diminished.
Because yoga lowers stress. "The lower your stress, the lower your cortisol levels," says Fred DeVito of Exhale Spa. That means your body will store fewer calories as fat.
Need more proof? According to this article: 7 Surprising Reasons You Should Be Doing Yoga Now, yoga also:
Improves Digestion: There are many postures, especially twists, designed to massage the internal organs and keep food moving through your digestive track.
Boosts Brain Function: "Yoga uses the body and breath as tools to create equanimity and clarity in the mind," says Kluczkowski. "By synching movement with steady, conscious breath, we feel less stress and can better focus."
Boosts Immunity: Yoga boosts immunity at the cellular level through changes in gene expression, according to a study published in the journal PLoSOne.
Read More Here: Eat This!
Yoga for weight loss and flexibility, Day 1 workout - 20-minute fat burning beginners class:
More Reasons Yoga is Best for Weight Watchers...
- Reduces stress, stress-hormones, and as a result, stress related eating which is good because stress can cause weight gain.
- Increases our overall mind and body awareness so we pay more attention to our eating behaviors and choices which naturally results in more mindful eating. We learn to chew more so we can weigh less.
- Improves our mood resulting in less emotional eating
- Improves muscle tone, balance, flexibility, and circulation leading to improved hormone function and better digestion
- Increases insulin sensitivity
- Encourages us to be kind to ourselves. Ahimsa, an important yoga teaching, means don't harm. With regular practice, we may begin to ask, Is this really good for me? Do I really need another cup of coffee? Do these potato chips help me or hurt me? What needs to leave our life does with much less effort.
- Most importantly yoga teaches us that each day is a practice, an opportunity to gain insight; not a zero sum undertaking. We learn to be less judgmental and striving. Our weight fluctuates, but not like it used to. We begin to feel more balanced, our swings less extreme, able to find center without resorting to harmful behaviors. We realize we can turn to our yoga practice, breathe deeply, take a walk, or have a bath instead of raiding the fridge or nearest vending machine 🙂
More On the Power of Yoga for Weight Watchers
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