Blog Mental Health Yoga Chair Yoga Can You Use Chair Yoga For Weight Loss?

Can You Use Chair Yoga For Weight Loss?

In an age where diet fads and exercise trends come and go faster than your favorite Netflix series, losing weight using only a chair sounds like yet another false promise. How can that unassuming piece of furniture you’re likely sitting on right now help you shed those extra pounds?

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The answer may surprise you. Sure, it might not torch calories like a high-intensity cardio session, but don’t let its laid-back demeanor fool you. Chair yoga may just be the stealthy ally you need in your battle against the bulge, improving your fitness and helping you shed those pesky pounds through less obvious means. 

In this article, we’ll answer your most pressing question—can chair yoga help you lose weight?

We’ll also explore the benefits of chair yoga, how to get started and its potential downsides. By the end, you should have a good understanding of the role chair yoga can play in your weight loss journey. 

Does Chair Yoga Burn Calories?

Weight loss comes down to one simple equation: burning more calories than you consume. This means any form of exercise that can help you increase your daily calorie burn will aid your efforts.

So does chair yoga have the power to do this?

Yes it does, but you won’t be burning as many calories as you would with more vigorous forms of exercise. The number of calories burned during a chair yoga session can vary, depending on factors such as your age, weight, and the intensity of the practice. 

On average, a person might burn around 100-200 calories per hour during a chair yoga session. Keep in mind that this is a rough estimate, and individual results may differ (1).

To put the number of calories burned through chair yoga into perspective, a medium-sized apple contains roughly 95 calories. This means an hour of chair yoga might burn approximately the same number of calories as consuming an apple.

Walking at a moderate pace (3 mph) for an hour can burn around 250-300 calories. Swimming laps for an hour can burn about 400-500 calories. Running at a moderate pace (5 mph) for an hour can burn around 600-700 calories (1).

Although it’s not a major calorie-burning activity, chair yoga still offers numerous benefits that can contribute to overall health and fitness, which in turn can support weight loss goals.

Read More: Which Yoga Chair Pose To Use When: A Guide To Unlocking The Benefits Of Gentle Exercise

chair yoga for weight loss

Is Chair Yoga Good For Weight Loss?

Chair yoga can be beneficial for weight loss in various indirect ways. Here are six ways through which this practice can improve your fitness and prepare you for more intense workouts:

See also
Chair Yoga For Stress Relief

1. Increased Flexibility

Chair yoga helps stretch and lengthen muscles, which can improve overall flexibility (9). Better flexibility can make it easier to perform other exercises and daily activities, reducing the risk of injury and increasing the range of motion.

2. Improved Muscle Strength

The gentle movements and poses in chair yoga help strengthen muscles, particularly in the core, legs, and upper body (2). Stronger muscles contribute to better performance in other physical activities and can increase overall calorie-burning potential.

3. Enhanced Balance And Stability

Chair yoga helps develop balance and stability by engaging your core muscles and improving proprioception. This can make it easier to transition to higher-intensity workouts that require good balance and reduce the risk of falls (9).

4. Stress Reduction

Regular practice of chair yoga can help lower stress levels and promote relaxation. Lower stress levels can aid weight loss by reducing cortisol, a hormone that contributes to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen (4).

5. Improved Mental Focus

Chair yoga encourages mindfulness and mental focus, which can help you make healthier choices, maintain motivation, and stay committed to your weight loss goals (4).

6. Accessibility

Chair yoga is an excellent option for those with limited mobility, such as seniors, people with disabilities, or individuals recovering from injuries. It allows these populations to participate in a form of exercise that is gentle, safe, and adaptable to their needs, helping them stay active and maintain a healthier lifestyle, which can contribute to weight loss.

7. Better Posture

Chair yoga helps improve postural awareness and alignment by targeting specific muscle groups that support the spine. Good posture not only contributes to a slimmer appearance but also enhances breathing, digestion, and overall body function, which can aid weight loss efforts (9).

8.Increased Energy Levels

Regular chair yoga practice can boost energy levels by enhancing circulation, oxygenating the body, and promoting overall well-being (4). With increased energy, you may find it easier to engage in more intense workouts and stay active throughout the day, further supporting your weight loss goals.

9. Building Healthy Habits

Incorporating chair yoga into your daily routine can help establish a consistent exercise habit, which is essential for long-term weight management. As you become more comfortable with regular physical activity, you may be more inclined to explore other forms of exercise, ultimately creating a well-rounded fitness program that supports weight loss and overall health.

See also
Regain Flexibility And Build Strength With Guided 28-Day Chair Yoga For Seniors

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chair yoga for weight loss

Who Is Chair Yoga Good For?

Chair yoga is a versatile and adaptable form of exercise that can benefit various populations due to its gentle, low-impact nature. Here are several different groups that may find chair yoga particularly beneficial:

1. Seniors

As people age, they often experience decreased mobility, flexibility, and balance. Chair yoga provides a safe and gentle way for seniors to stay active, improve muscle strength, and maintain joint health, all the while reducing the risk of falls and injuries (7).

2. People With Disabilities

Individuals with physical disabilities may find traditional forms of yoga challenging or inaccessible. Chair yoga offers an alternative that can be adapted to suit their specific needs, allowing them to experience the benefits of yoga without causing strain or discomfort.

3. Office Workers

Prolonged sitting and poor posture are common issues among office workers. Chair yoga can provide a convenient way to stretch, strengthen muscles, and relieve tension during the workday, helping to counteract the negative effects of sedentary behavior (5).

4. Pregnant Women

With the approval of their healthcare provider, pregnant women can practice chair yoga as a gentle and safe option for maintaining fitness and flexibility during pregnancy. It can also help alleviate pregnancy-related discomforts such as lower back pain, swelling, and stress (8).

5. Individuals Recovering From Injuries

For those recovering from injuries, high-impact exercises might not be advisable. Chair yoga serves as a low-impact alternative that promotes healing, improves flexibility, and helps rebuild strength without causing further damage or delaying recovery (6).

6. Overweight Or Obese Individuals

People who are overweight or obese may find it challenging to engage in high-intensity workouts initially. Chair yoga offers a gentle introduction to physical activity, helping them build strength, flexibility, and confidence before moving on to more demanding forms of exercise (3).

7. People With Chronic Pain

Individuals experiencing chronic pain, such as those with fibromyalgia or arthritis, can benefit from chair yoga’s gentle movements and stretches. This practice can help alleviate pain, reduce stiffness, and improve overall quality of life without exacerbating their condition (10).

chair yoga for weight loss

8. Beginners To Yoga Or Exercise

Chair yoga serves as an excellent starting point for individuals who are new to yoga or physical activity in general. Its accessible nature allows beginners to familiarize themselves with basic yoga principles and poses while building strength and flexibility at their own pace.

See also
Sit Your Way To Wellness: Unravel The Benefits Of Chair Yoga

9. Athletes During Rest Or Recovery Periods

Athletes often need low-impact activities during rest days or recovery periods to maintain their fitness levels without overexerting themselves.

Chair yoga can provide a gentle, restorative practice that helps maintain flexibility, strength, and mental focus while giving their bodies a much-needed break from high-intensity training.

Read More: Regain Flexibility And Build Strength With Guided 28-Day Chair Yoga For Seniors

What Are Some Good Chair Yoga Exercises For Weight Loss?

While chair yoga may not directly lead to significant weight loss,the chair yoga exercises below can help improve strength, flexibility, and balance, ultimately supporting your weight loss journey:

1. Seated Cat-Cow Stretch

What it does: Stretches and strengthens the spine, improves posture, and relieves tension in the neck and shoulders.

Instructions:

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting on your knees.
  2. Inhale, arch your back, and gently lift your chest and gaze upward (Cow Pose).
  3. Exhale, round your back, and tuck your chin toward your chest (Cat Pose).
  4. Repeat for 5-10 breath cycles.

2. Seated Forward Bend

What it does: Stretches the hamstrings and lower back, improves digestion, and calms the mind.

Instructions:

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet hip-width apart and flat on the floor.
  2. Inhale and lengthen your spine.
  3. Exhale and slowly fold forward, reaching your hands towards your feet or ankles.
  4. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then slowly rise back up on an inhale.

3. Chair Pigeon Pose

What it does: Opens the hips, stretches the glutes and outer thighs, and releases tension in the lower body.

Instructions:

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your right ankle on your left thigh, just above the knee, keeping your right foot flexed.
  3. Gently press your right knee down and lean forward slightly to deepen the stretch.
  4. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then switch sides.

4. Seated Spinal Twist

What it does: Improves spinal flexibility, massages the abdominal organs, and aids digestion.

Instructions:

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Inhale and lengthen your spine, then exhale and twist to the right, placing your left hand on your right knee and your right hand on the back of the chair.
  3. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then repeat on the left side.

chair yoga for weight loss

5. Chair Warrior II

What it does: Strengthens the legs, opens the hips, and improves balance and focus.

See also
Chair Yoga For Seniors: 10 Poses To Improve Strength, Flexibility, And Balance

Instructions:

  1. Sit sideways on the chair with your right hip against the backrest and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Extend your left leg behind you, keeping your left foot flat on the ground and your left knee facing forward.
  3. Stretch your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor, with your palms facing down.
  4. Gaze over your right fingertips and hold for 5-10 breaths, then switch sides.

6. Chair Sun Salutations

What it does: Energizes the body, warms up the muscles, and improves overall flexibility.

Instructions:

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Inhale and raise your arms overhead, palms facing each other.
  3. Exhale and fold forward, reaching for your shins or the floor.Inhale and lift halfway, placing your hands on your thighs and lengthening your spine.
  4. Exhale and fold forward again.
  5. Inhale, rise back up, and bring your arms overhead.
  6. Exhale and return your hands to your heart center.
  7. Repeat 3-5 times.

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7. Chair Eagle Pose:

What it does: Stretches the shoulders, upper back, and hips, while improving balance and concentration.

Instructions:

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Cross your right thigh over your left thigh, and if possible, hook your right foot behind your left calf.
  3. Extend your arms in front of you, then cross your left arm over your right arm, bending at the elbows.
  4. Bring your palms together, or place the backs of your hands together if full palm contact is not possible.
  5. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then switch sides.

8. Chair Tree Pose

What it does: Improves balance, strengthens the legs and core, and promotes mental focus.

Instructions:

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your right foot on your left ankle, calf, or inner thigh (avoid placing it directly on the knee).
  3. Press your right knee gently outward, opening your hip.
  4. Bring your hands together at your heart center or extend them overhead for a greater challenge.
  5. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then switch sides.

Tips For Using Chair Yoga To Lose Weight

Here are some tips for using chair yoga to lose weight and maintain long-term results:

See also
12 Chair Stretches To Relieve Work-From-Home Fatigue

Use Chair Yoga To Increase Mindfulness

Practicing chair yoga can help develop mindfulness, which is the awareness of the present moment without judgment (4). 

This heightened sense of awareness can be applied to your eating habits, making you more conscious of your food choices, portion sizes, and hunger cues. By eating mindfully, you are less likely to overeat or make unhealthy choices, ultimately supporting your weight loss goals.

chair yoga for weight loss

Use Chair Yoga For Stress Relief

Chair yoga promotes relaxation and stress reduction through gentle stretching, deep breathing, and focused attention. By lowering stress levels, you can decrease cortisol production – a hormone that contributes to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen (4).

Managing stress through chair yoga and other relaxation techniques can help create a more balanced environment within your body, making it easier to lose weight and maintain overall well-being.

Use Chair Yoga To Build Consistency

Regular practice of chair yoga helps establish a consistent exercise habit, which is essential for long-term weight management. By incorporating chair yoga into your routine 3-5 times a week, you can create a foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle that supports weight loss and overall fitness.

Use Chair Yoga As A Stepping Stone For Other Activities

Chair yoga serves as a gentle introduction to physical activity, helping you build strength, flexibility, and confidence. As your fitness level improves, you can gradually incorporate other forms of exercise, such as walking, swimming, or strength training, to further enhance calorie burning and overall health.

Use Chair Yoga To Improve Sleep

The relaxation and stress relief provided by chair yoga can contribute to better sleep quality. Getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night is crucial for weight loss, as lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and poor food choices. Incorporating chair yoga into your daily routine can help promote restorative sleep and support your weight loss journey (4).

The Bottom Line

While chair yoga may not directly lead to significant weight loss, it can still be a valuable tool in supporting your overall fitness and well-being. By increasing mindfulness, reducing stress, promoting consistency, and serving as a stepping stone for other physical activities, chair yoga can contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

When combined with other healthy habits, such as mindful eating, proper hydration, and adequate sleep, chair yoga can play a complementary role in your weight loss journey and long-term weight management.

Get Your Personalized Chair Yoga Plan!

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights (2021, harvard.edu)
  2. Effects of a 12-Week Hatha Yoga Intervention on Cardiorespiratory Endurance, Muscular Strength and Endurance, and Flexibility in Hong Kong Chinese Adults: A Controlled Clinical Trial (2015, nih.gov)
  3. Effects of Continuous Yoga on Body Composition in Obese Adolescents (2021, nih.gov)
  4. Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life (2011, nih.gov)
  5. Fifteen Minutes of Chair-Based Yoga Postures or Guided Meditation Performed in the Office Can Elicit a Relaxation Response (2012, nih.gov)
  6. Mitigating the Antecedents of Sports-related Injury through Yoga (2020, nih.gov)
  7. Safety and feasibility of modified chair-yoga on functional outcome among elderly at risk for falls (2012, nih.gov)
  8. Systematic Review of Yoga for Pregnant Women: Current Status and Future Directions (2012, nih.gov)
  9. Yoga – health benefits (2022, nih.gov)
  10. Yoga for Pain: What the Science Says (2020, nih.gov)
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