You are probably familiar with the term “middle age spread”. It is a common belief that weight gain is unavoidable as we age. While the vast majority of people between the ages of 45 and 55 do gain an average of one pound a year, this gain is not inevitable.

In the first study of its kind, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have proven that yoga can play an vital role in preventing weight gain during middle age. In this study, 15,500 middle aged men and women were followed for ten years. Those who were a normal weight at age 45 gained an average of ten pounds during the study. However, those who practiced yoga regularly gained a third less weight.

Far more dramatic results were seen in those who were overweight at the beginning of the study. Participants who practiced yoga lost an average of five pounds. Those who did not gained 14 pounds!

For the purposes of this study, “regular practice” was considered to be at least 30 minutes of yoga once a week for four or more years. Since most forms of yoga are not aerobically intense enough to burn significant calories, it is believed that the resulting weight loss comes largely from increased body awareness.

You can easily take advantage of this elegant and beautiful practice. There are classes in almost every city and town, as well as many good books and videos. As a beginner you will need little more than a good yoga mat and /or blanket. Of course there are also props which can be used to increase the effectiveness of your routines.

You will find that in addition to the weight loss and strengthening benefits of yoga, you will begin to feel a deeper sense of peace. Relaxation and stress release will become easier to attain and you will become much more in tune with your body. On top of all this, yoga simply feels good!

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