How to Lose Weight With Running & Yoga
Yoga and running are the perfect combination for weight loss. Running burns calories at a high rate and speeds up your metabolism. According to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, exercise causes an increase in calorie burning rate both during and after exercise. Exercising safely requires a warm-up, cool-down and daily stretching routine. Using yoga to warm up, cool down and stretch enables you to sustain high-intensity work outs, preventing injury and maximizing calorie loss.
Practice proper breathing before you work out. Find a comfortable seated position and place one hand on your belly. On your inhale, allow your belly to expand. When you exhale, let your belly contract. Count slowly to four for both your inhale and exhale, evenly spreading out the intake and release of air. Proper breathing centers your mind before working out which prevents injury and improves performance.
Warm up using simple yoga poses and sun salutations. Do not attempt to stretch deeply during warm-ups. Breathe in and out of each yoga pose. Perform five to 10 sun salutations until you feel your body warm up and break out into a light sweat. Yoga warm-ups burn calories and prevent muscle injury.
Begin running. Note the quality of your breathing and do a quick mental scan of your body. If you feel tight or sore, work at a slower pace. Take brief walk breaks during your run. Allowing running muscles to rest periodically prevents injury and enables a longer workout. A longer workout equals more calories burned. Walk breaks are also good times to revisit breathing and body awareness.
Cool down using seated or prone yoga poses. Twists and forward folds release tension from the back and lower legs. Hold each pose for at least 15 seconds to encourage muscle relaxation. During cool-down you can stretch more deeply.
At the end of cool down take a moment to sit, relax and revisit breath awareness. Note your emotions. If a difficult feeling arises take a moment to welcome it and accept it. Welcoming difficult emotions allows us to let go of them. Use yogic breathing and acceptance to reduce stress that causes poor life habits such as emotional eating and exercise avoidance.
The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommends at minimum 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week and two days per week of bone and muscles strengthening. Count yoga as stretching and running as cardiorespiratory endurance, bone and muscle strengthening. A sample workout would include five minutes of warm-up yoga to prepare for a run, 20 minutes of running and five minutes of cool-down yoga.
Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise or weight loss program. If you are not familiar with yoga find an instructor to teach you the basics before trying out poses on your own.
Kristin Dorman has been writing since 1999 and has had work featured in "The Stylus," the University of Maryland's literary journal. She is a certified yoga instructor and teaches a "Yoga for Runners" course through community education. Dorman holds a Bachelor of Arts in studio art and art history from the University of Maryland, where she graduated with university and departmental honors.