The CDC estimates that one-third of American adults is obese, and another one-third is overweight.

Studies support using yoga for weight loss

If you are overweight or obese, you're not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one-third of American adults is obese, and another one-third is overweight. With poor dietary and cardiovascular health so rampant these days, it's important to find an exercise system that works. In that regard, many people are using yoga for weight loss.

Scientific studies confirm that stretching, posing, breathing deeply and engaging in mindfulness meditation may help the body burn calories and rid itself of excess fat.

For instance, a report published in the journal Topics in Clinical Nutrition found that doing yoga can not only reduce one's body mass, but even prevent weight gain in the first place.

Researchers found that adults who participated in yoga for one to four years displayed lower blood pressure than those newer to the regimen. Likewise, long-time practitioners were less likely to be obese, hypertensive or anxious.

A similar study appeared in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. In it, scientists from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's Division of Public Health Sciences announced that regular yoga exercises can prevent further weight gain among overweight adults.

In the report, the team described analyzing the health records of more than 15,000 adults recruited for the Vitamin and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort study. In particular, the group looked at individuals' height, weight and self-reported exercise routines for the prior decade.

The authors found that normal-weight people who practiced yoga for more than four consecutive years gained 3.1 fewer pounds on average, compared to those who'd only done yoga for a shorter period of time.

Even more dramatically, over the course of the study, overweight adults who'd been in yoga for at least five years gained 18.5 fewer pounds on average, compared to those who'd initiated yoga more recently or not at all.

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