Medical Reviewed by Sindhu Vas, Masters in Nutrition and Food science
Have you ever stepped foot in a park at dawn or as the sun is about to set? You will encounter two different scenes: people walking sincerely and people practising different forms of yoga!
Although the scene may infuse you with a sense of guilt for not being one among them, let us critically evaluate if all that walking and yoga helps with weight loss.
Yes, walking does help you in burning some calories but if you stroll or walk slowly, then it is of no use.
For walking to make a huge difference to your weight; it needs to be vigorous and done for a longer period of time. But remember, overdoing can cause injuries and burn you out too, not something you want in the pursuit of weight loss.
But if you are a beginner and wondering how to start your fitness journey, then walking can be a great start. Not just for beginners, walking can be a great start for people who are looking to start exercising after a hiatus.
Studies have suggested that walking offers a number of benefits. Below are some of the advantages of walking.
1. Type 2 Diabetes
Walking has shown to help people with Type 2 Diabetes. Regularly walking can help control fasting blood sugar levels, prevent diabetes-related complications in the future and increase the fitness level.
Walking can also reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
2. Cardiovascular diseases
Several studies have noted that walking promotes weight loss and therefore, it reduces the body mass index (BMI), lowers blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels and significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases (stroke and heart disease).
Studies also reveal that walking at least for 30 minutes a day five times in a week can reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease.
3. Preventing other diseases
Studies have indicated that walking can prevent colon and breast cancer. Similarly, studies suggest that walking can also help cancer survivors and people fighting cancer. Walking will improve their mood and tiredness. However, more research is needed to validate this.
4. Impact on mental health
Walking has proven to have a positive impact on mental health.
Research indicates that walking can help improve depression, anxiety and minor stress. It can also improve sleep quality.
However, if you think you are suffering from depression or anxiety, we strongly recommend you to visit a doctor.
Yoga is also something that is routinely recommended for weight loss and when done regularly, it can offer overall wellness.
Some of the benefits are,
- Alleviating depression.
- Improving fatigue.
- Help cope with anxiety.
- Help in managing stress.
- Can improve flexibility and posture.
- Regulate blood sugar levels.
- Can help improve conditions related to muscle and bone?
However, if you are considering yoga for weight loss, then think again!
You would imagine that all the contorted positions will result in higher calorie burn. Sadly, all you do is improve your flexibility but they do not help much with your weight.
Though yoga benefits you in many other ways, merely practising a few asanas can only relax you greatly. That translates to no stress and no stress-related weight gain.
One of the major benefits of yoga in terms of weight loss is, it can train your mind and exercise self-control. So if you practice yoga, you will be better able to resist those gulab jamuns after a heavy meal. The net effect: It does help in weight loss but not in traditional ways.
So what can actually help for weight loss?
Although we are a strong proponent of walking and yoga as forms of physical activity; let us also tell you that only relying on them to achieve major weight loss goals would be wrong.
For weight loss, it is good to indulge in exercises that will burn fat and calories. For best results, you can do cardio exercises like running, cycling, and body weight exercises and do muscle exercises for toning.
But the most important part is the diet. Weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise.
So if you want to hit weight loss success sooner, eat a healthy diet! Being physically active and having morning walks, jog and yoga – all are very good and will help you stay healthy, but from weight loss point of view – they are not very helpful. You can’t outrun a bad diet.
At Possible we believe that with the right approach to diet, you can lose weight and stay healthy. Coupling it with a moderate amount of exercises will definitely help you achieve your weight loss goals.