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Yoga and Weight Loss: Does yoga burn belly fat?

        Health | Yoga

Yoga can help with weight loss -- just not in the way you may think.
Yoga can help with weight loss -- just not in the way you may think.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

If you look at celebrities who practice yoga (ahem, Jennifer Aniston), you may think that Downward Dog is a quick way to get a toned and tight body. Unfortunately, if you're looking for a quick fix that promises flat abs fast, yoga is not your best bet -- but then again, not much is.

But a regular yoga practice can play a role in helping you achieve your long-awaited six-pack; it can help you lose weight and tone from head to toe, including your abdominal area. Yoga just boosts weight loss in a more holistic way than you might think.

To better understand this question, it's important to understand how the body burns fat, in general. Although we can target certain body parts for toning and strengthening (like our arms, legs, abs, or glutes, for example), there is no research-proven way to blast more fat cells in one specific area than in any other. And while extra pounds around the belly are often the easiest weight to put on, they can also be some of the hardest to shed.

That being said, a diet and exercise plan that allows you to lose weight all over will almost certainly benefit that belly bulge. (To shed pounds consistently, remember that the key is to burn more calories than you take in every day.) And that's good news, because excess fat around the abdominal area has been shown to raise the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. [Source: Mayo Clinic]

Yoga can be an important part of your belly-shrinking plan, regardless of whether you've ever practiced before. Not only does it burn calories and help tone your trouble spots, but research also shows that it has the power to alter your eating patterns, your sleep habits, and your mood -- all things that will affect how much weight you pack onto your waistline, and how quickly you can burn it off.


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