Advantages of Pilates and Yoga for Weight Loss & Wellbeing
If you’re searching for exercise programs to help you lose weight, there are hundreds available at the click of a button.
More and more “quick fixes” come to the market each year. The problem with these programs — and the reason that they are designed for you to fail — is the time limit tied to results. You have seen these countless times before. Seven days to six-pack abs or 21 days to the “beach body” of your dreams are extremely appealing by using marketing that feeds on our insecurities.
But if you're only on a health kick to lose weight or look a certain way, it will be hard to lose weight permanently. On the contrary, extreme measures and “quick fixes'' further pertuatate the mind-body disconnection that is often at the root of failed weight loss attempts.
Let’s be real as we have this conversation about weight loss: It’s perfectly natural to desire an aesthetically pleasing body. To feel attractive, comfortable, and confident in your body is important for our personal relationships and the way we move through our lives.
Unfortunately, especially with topics as charged as weight loss, we often start from a place of “I need to fix myself” instead of “I want to feel better for myself.”
If you’re wondering, can yoga help me lose weight? Or can Pilates help me lose weight? The answer is yes! But the benefits go far beyond simply burning calories and getting in shape. Pilates and yoga can help you relieve stress and back pain while giving you more confidence in yourself and your body image.
Here is a scientifically backed guide for losing weight with yoga and Pilates, and how these movement practices play into lifelong wellbeing.
Yoga for Weight Loss
Most of the time we associate fat loss exercises with high intensity sweat sessions such as crossfit or long distance running, not dogward dog. But low impact yoga classes are proven to help you lose weight, too.
According to the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, regular yoga practice is tied to weight loss and weight maintenance. The study points to a handful of factors that support weight loss goals, including: the energy expenditure during yoga sessions, encouraging more exercise by reducing back pain and joint pain, heightening mindfulness, improving mood and reducing stress, and by helping practitioners feel more connected to their bodies.
Yoga also reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which can impede weight loss efforts when it’s not in check. A consistent yoga practice lowers cortisol levels, allowing people to successfully lose body fat.
Pilates for Weight Loss
Originally developed in 1918 by a physical trainer named Joseph H. Pilates, the namesake exercise system builds flexibility and strength in your body to help improve posture and balance.
Since it was first introduced, hundreds of studies have proven its benefits for physical and emotional health. But, for a moment, let’s focus on weight loss — how does Pilates help you achieve long-term results?
Here are a few reasons why: Building lean muscle mass increases your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories at rest than you would if you had just exercised without building additional muscle tone. This steady stream of burn keeps going throughout your entire day — even while sitting at work.
It makes sense, right?! If your body works harder to maintain extra tissue (muscle), it means there’s more energy being burned throughout your day. Increased muscle mass can raise your resting metabolic rate by as much as 30%.
Over time, those small boosts can really add up without going to extremes like cutting out all carbs or skipping dinner.
In regards to eating and how it connects to long term weight loss, did you know that you can have a better metabolism in your 40s than you did in your 20s?
Millions of bacteria live throughout your body, but the ones in your gut may have the biggest impact on your well-being. They affect everything from your metabolism to your mood to your immune system, according to WebMD.
For example, if someone has been feeding themselves processed foods and too much sugar, then their guts are sending signals to their brains to eat more of that stuff — a vicious cycle.
A little education about good nutrition will have to be a part of any weight loss plan. I am not a fan of overly strict “diet” plans unless it is being used to control illness under a doctor’s supervision. Otherwise, learning to be moderate and listen to your body and respect its true needs is the way to go.
Healthy eating paired with regular, mindful exercise not only burns calories but also helps you relax more and sleep better, which is important to combat stress and give you an overall sense of wellbeing.
The way we move communicates and shapes not only our bodies but our brains as well.
The key is keeping up your healthy habits long term so you reap all the benefits from your commitment to live healthier every day.
Ready to give yoga and Pilates a try to support your weight loss efforts?
You can try out yoga and Pilates — and other self-care classes in the library — by signing up for the 7-day free membership trial here.