Tag: Weight

Is Yoga Good Exercise?

From CrossFit to Insanity workouts, exercise has lately trended toward the extreme. But physical activity doesn’t always have to be vigorous to be effective.

While it may seem mellow compared to most training programs, yoga’s health benefits keep pace—and often outdistance—what many people would call “traditional” forms of exercise.

For starters, research shows regular yoga practice lowers your risk for heart disease and hypertension. Yoga may also lessen symptoms of depression, headaches, diabetes, some forms of cancer and pain-related diseases like arthritis.




Yoga also seems to combat weight gain.

One 4-year study from Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found middle-aged adults who practiced yoga at least once a week gained 3 fewer pounds than those who stuck with other forms of exercise.

The same study found overweight adults who practice yoga lost 5 pounds, while a non-yoga group gained 13 pounds. Those results held even when the authors accounted for different eating habits.

How can a little bending and stretching do all that? Unlike exercises like running or lifting weights—both of which crank up your heart rate and stimulate your nervous system—yoga does just the opposite.

It puts you in a parasympathetic state, so your heart rate goes down and blood pressure goes down,” says Dr. Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

Field has published an in-depth review of yoga’s potential health benefits. She says the types and varieties of movement involved in yoga stimulate pressure receptors in your skin, which in turn ramp up your brain and body’s vagal activity.

Your vagus nerve connects your brain to several of your organs, and it also plays a role in hormone production and release.

All of this may explain yoga’s research-backed ties to a healthier heart, as well as its ability to slash your stress, improve your mood, quell your appetite and help you sleep more soundly, Field says.

When you consider the health perks linked to each of those brain and body benefits—lower inflammation, lower body weight, lower disease risk—you could make an argument that few activities are as good for you as yoga.

One thing yoga doesn’t do, though, is burn loads of calories. Even hot forms of yoga like Bikram result in modest energy expenditures—roughly the number of calories you’d burn during a brisk walk.

While more and more research suggests calories shouldn’t be your sole focus when it comes to diet and exercise, there’s no question that running, swimming, lifting weights and other more-vigorous forms of exercise are great for your brain and body.

Yoga is unquestionably good for you, Field says, but it should be done in tandem with traditional forms of physical activity—not in place of them.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

When You Lose Weight, Where Does It Actually Go?

Get this — when you lose weight, it literally vanishes into thin air. For real.

When we talk about weight loss, we generally talk about “burning” fat. That’s not incorrect. But many folks – including plenty of doctors – will mistakenly tell you that this fat is mostly lost as heat as the result of this “burning.”

But as you so rightly point out, the law of conservation of mass says that the physical stuff that makes up fat has to go somewhere. And no, it doesn’t all go down the toilet.

In fact, most of it is exhaled as carbon dioxide.




When you lose weight it’s essentially like you’re eating your own fat,” Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, told The Washington Post.

Your body needs a certain amount of energy to function, and it gets that energy from food. When you consume more energy than you expend, it gets stored in fat cells as triglycerides which are made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

When you consume less energy than you expend, your body taps into that stored fat.

Those triglycerides go into your bloodstream and break up into smaller chunks of fatty acid, Aronne explained, which tissues throughout your body can use as fuel.

To fuel body operations, those fatty acids get broken down yet again into smaller chemical components. The breaking of those chemical bonds produces energy, and then your body is left with a bit of water and a whole lot of CO2.

In a study in the 2014 Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal – an issue known for scientifically sound but cheeky studies – researchers came up with a calculation to estimate the precise input and output of this process.

They found that to burn a pound of fat, a human needs to inhale about three pounds of oxygen, kickstarting metabolic processes that produce just under three pounds of carbon dioxide and about a pound of water.

That water can exit the body in plenty of ways – poop, pee, sweat, saliva and any number of bodily fluids – but your lungs handle the brunt of the weight loss.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Belly Fat Is More Dangerous Than Being Overweight, Study Finds

In older women, it’s not excess weight that’s deadly, but where those extra pounds collect that can shorten life, a new study reports.

Among women 70 to 79, being overweight or obese didn’t appear to cut years of life — unless the weight was centered around the waist.

But being underweight also appeared to shorten life span, researchers found.




Abdominal fat is more deadly than carrying excess weight,” said lead researcher Zhao Chen. She’s chair of the University of Arizona’s department of epidemiology and biostatistics in the College of Public Health.

While the study found that a large waist circumference is detrimental, Hispanic women were somewhat protected.

They had lower mortality rates at any waist measurement or BMI level than white or black women.

Chen added, “An older woman should be concerned when her body weight is below normal for her height, and less concerned when she is slightly heavier than normal.”

The researchers found that the risk of mortality increased when waist circumference measured more than 31.5 inches (80 centimeters), and they classified anything above nearly 35 inches (88 centimeters) as an “extreme risk.”

The study looked at weight by using body mass index (BMI) measurements. BMI is a rough estimate of a person’s body fat based on height and weight measurements.

A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal weight. Below 18.5 is underweight, while 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight.

Obesity is a BMI of 30 or more. But obesity can also be broken into three classes, as was done in this study.

Class I or “slight” obesity is a BMI of 30 to 34.9. Class II is 35 to 39.9, and class III is a BMI of 40 or above.

Although being overweight is often considered generally bad for your health, how bad may depend on your age, race and ethnic background, Chen said.

In general, these findings suggest that being underweight is more detrimental in older women, and being slightly heavier in later life could be beneficial, she said.

Body weight can reflect several different aspects of body composition, each reflecting health and disease in its own way, Chen said.

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Pass it on: Popular Science