Muscle Burns More Calories
The rate at which our bodies use calories to meet energy demands, i.e. metabolism, affects our weight. Last week we explored how stress negatively impacts metabolism and weight. Yoga, with its proven ability to lower stress, helps.
Body composition (lean weight vs. fat weight) also impacts the metabolic rate. Every pound of muscles burns 6 calories a day to sustain itself while every pound of fat burns only 2. So, even while at rest, more muscular people are actually using more calories. It hardly seems fair! Again, yoga helps by changing body composition with postures that increase circulation, strength and flexibility.
Yogi Tad is standing in Warrior posture. It looks effortless but don’t be fooled. Done properly, it takes muscular strength and mental focus to hold in the posture for several breaths. Leg and arm muscles are actively engaged. Shoulders are relaxed. Weight is distributed over both feet and the core is engaged to help maintain balance. Oh – and don’t forget to breathe … a full breath moving from chest to belly on inhale and belly to chest on exhale. There is a lot going on. Yoga postures that are held, like Warrior, build physical and mental strength.
Yoga postures that involve repetition – moving into and out of the posture – increase circulation. Because repetition alternately stretches and contracts muscles, it increases strength and flexibility. It also warms up muscles in preparation for holding in postures. An example of repetition would be moving into and out of a forward bend.
To summarize, rate of metabolism affects how calories are burned and is impacted by stress levels and body composition. Because yoga reduces stress and tones muscles, it positively impacts metabolism. Another huge benefit is that it makes us more conscious and aware. Yoga not only helps one’s physical body but also mind and spirit.
Next week we’ll explore breathing techniques for weight management. Have a wonderful week.
Health is a precious gift and my goal is to help you live a healthier, happier life through yoga. Every private session is uniquely designed just for you. For a free telephone consultation call me at 303.818.4181. Discover whether personalized, private yoga instruction is right for you.
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