Between ages 45-55, people tend to gain about 1 pound per year, a phenomenon known as middle-aged spread. That’s 10 whole pounds by the time you reach your mid-fifties! Ouch.
Dr. Alan R. Kristal found that yoga helps prevent middle-aged spread. But rather than creating magical benefits or even meaningful calorie burning, yoga:
- Contributes to people feeling “more connected” to their bodies, which makes them want to be more active and eat better, including heightened sensitivity to the feeling of satiety.
- “Promotes a sense of well being, and encourages commitment and discipline”, which helps people make lifestyle changes and stick with those changes.
So the effects of yoga start with the mind and percolate to the body – truly “mind medicine” as Guruji likes to say.
Dr. Alan R. Kristal of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle also found that people who practice yoga – as little as 30 minutes once per week – gained only 3.1 pounds. And that’s any kind of yoga, not necessarily Ashtanga yoga, which is a much more physical practice. Senior teachers like Lino Miele, Tim Miller and Dominic Corigliano are living proof of this effect.
Dr. Kristal also found that:
- Yogi students ate less fat and more fruits and vegetables than non-yogis.
- They did more physical activity, in addition to yoga, than non-yogis.
The study was originally published in the July/August 2005 issue of Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine.