Those who are obese and who make the decision to start exercise may wonder if yoga is safe. Because 1 out of 3 Americans is obese, this question may potentially be on the minds of millions of people. With medical approval, yoga can be a safe and effective way to lose weight and improve health for people of all sizes.
Yoga is an excellent exercise for obese people, because it is gentle, is low-impact and so avoids extra force on the joints, and improves strength and flexibility. Yoga also builds muscle, and having more muscle helps to burn calories at rest, because muscle is more metabolically active than fat. If you're obese, talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program. Your doctor can determine whether you have other health problems that could place you at risk for illness or injury when exercising.
If you're new to yoga, and your doctor has approved exercise, starting with a normal temperature yoga class is a smart idea. A restorative yoga class can be a good introduction and a way to get used to the studio and the basic movements and experience of yoga. Arriving at the first class well hydrated and wearing loose, comfortable clothing will make the experience more pleasant. Later, if you enjoy yoga and your doctor approves it, you can try a more vigorous hot yoga class, such as Bikram yoga.
Don't Be Worried
Yoga classes may be intimidating or embarrassing to those who are obese. But, yoga is often a welcoming environment, accepting of all sizes and shapes of students.
The strength, flexibility and muscle mass gained from yoga can improve overall health and help with weight loss. The stress reduction and the better sleep that comes with regular exercise are both important in improving quality of life, and in shedding excess pounds.
Obese people can do yoga, and often find it is an effective exercise they can pursue for a lifetime.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Adult Obesity Facts
- Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Adiponectin, Interleukin-6, and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors Are Modified by a Short-Term Yoga-Based Lifestyle Intervention in Overweight and Obese Men
- Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine: Narrative Review of Yoga Intervention Clinical Trials Including Weight-Related Outcomes
- Korean Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology: Yoga Training Improves Metabolic Parameters in Obese Boys
- Menopause: Effects of Yoga Exercise on Serum Adiponectin and Metabolic Syndrome Factors in Obese Postmenopausal Women
- Supportive Care in Cancer: Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial of Yoga in Overweight and Obese Breast Cancer Survivors: Effects On Quality of Life and Anthropometric Measures