Yoga is often seen as a form of exercise that primarily focuses on flexibility and mindfulness, but can it also help with weight loss? This comprehensive guide will explore the potential benefits of incorporating yoga into your weight loss journey. We’ll take a look at the science behind yoga and weight loss, and examine the different types of yoga that may be most effective for shedding pounds. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or just starting out, this guide will provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your health and fitness goals. So, let’s get started and discover how yoga can help you reach your weight loss objectives.
What is Yoga?
History of Yoga
Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. It is a holistic approach to physical, mental, and spiritual well-being that involves various techniques such as postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and relaxation.
The practice of yoga is rooted in the Vedic tradition of India, which emphasizes the importance of connecting the mind, body, and spirit. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj,” which means “to unite” or “to join.” It aims to unite the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness.
The practice of yoga has evolved over time, and today, it is a popular form of exercise and stress relief all over the world. It has been modified and adapted to suit different needs and preferences, but the core principles remain the same.
The earliest written records of yoga can be found in the Vedas, which are ancient Hindu scriptures. The Upanishads, which are philosophical texts that explore the nature of reality and the self, also contain references to yoga.
Over time, yoga developed into various schools, including Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Jnana Yoga, each with its own set of techniques and philosophies. Hatha Yoga focuses on physical postures and breathing exercises, while Raja Yoga emphasizes meditation and mental discipline. Jnana Yoga is concerned with knowledge and self-realization.
In the medieval period, yoga became associated with Tantra, a set of esoteric practices that aimed to transform the body into a vessel for spiritual enlightenment. This period also saw the emergence of various yoga schools, such as the Mysore and Ashtanga schools.
In the modern era, yoga has been popularized by various figures, including Swami Vivekananda, who introduced yoga to the West in the late 19th century, and Mahatma Gandhi, who incorporated yoga into his political activism.
Today, yoga is a global phenomenon, with millions of people practicing it worldwide. It has been recognized by the United Nations as an important tool for promoting physical and mental health, and it is now part of the curriculum in many schools and universities.
Types of Yoga
Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. It is a holistic approach to physical, mental, and spiritual well-being that combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. There are various types of yoga, each with its unique style and focus. Here are some of the most popular types of yoga:
- Hatha Yoga: This is the traditional form of yoga that emphasizes physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. Hatha yoga is a gentle form of yoga that is suitable for beginners and those with physical limitations.
- Vinyasa Yoga: This is a dynamic form of yoga that flows from one pose to another, linking breath with movement. Vinyasa yoga is a high-intensity form of yoga that is suitable for those who are physically fit and looking for a challenging workout.
- Ashtanga Yoga: This is a traditional form of yoga that follows a specific sequence of postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. Ashtanga yoga is a physically demanding form of yoga that requires dedication and discipline.
- Kundalini Yoga: This is a spiritual form of yoga that focuses on awakening the dormant energy at the base of the spine. Kundalini yoga involves a series of physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to help release the energy and improve overall well-being.
- Bikram Yoga: This is a hot yoga practice that is performed in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Bikram yoga involves a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises that are performed in a specific sequence for 90 minutes.
- Yin Yoga: This is a gentle form of yoga that focuses on stretching and relaxing the muscles. Yin yoga involves holding postures for several minutes, allowing the body to release tension and promote relaxation.
- Restorative Yoga: This is a gentle form of yoga that uses props such as blankets, blocks, and straps to support the body in comfortable postures. Restorative yoga is suitable for those who are looking for a relaxing and rejuvenating practice.
Each type of yoga has its unique benefits and challenges, and it is essential to choose the right type of yoga that suits your goals and preferences.
The Connection Between Yoga and Weight Loss
Understanding the Calories Burned Through Yoga
While yoga is not typically thought of as a weight loss exercise, it can be an effective tool for burning calories and promoting overall health. The number of calories burned during yoga can vary depending on the type of yoga practiced, the duration of the practice, and the individual’s weight and fitness level.
In general, a 150-pound person can burn around 400 calories during a vigorous vinyasa yoga class lasting 60 minutes, while a more gentle yoga practice like Hatha yoga may burn around 200 calories in the same time frame.
It’s important to note that while yoga can be a beneficial part of a weight loss plan, it is not a replacement for traditional cardiovascular exercise. Cardio exercises such as running, cycling, or swimming are still necessary for achieving significant weight loss and improving cardiovascular health.
Additionally, yoga is not just about physical exercise. It is a holistic practice that also focuses on mental and emotional well-being. The mindfulness and stress-reducing aspects of yoga can also contribute to weight loss by promoting healthy eating habits and reducing emotional eating.
Overall, incorporating yoga into a weight loss plan can be a valuable tool for achieving overall health and wellness. However, it is important to approach yoga as part of a comprehensive approach to weight loss, rather than relying solely on yoga for results.
Yoga and Weight Loss: Does the Evidence Support It?
As the popularity of yoga continues to rise, so does the interest in using yoga as a tool for weight loss. However, the question remains: does the evidence support the connection between yoga and weight loss? In this section, we will examine the research on yoga and weight loss to determine if there is a link between the two.
One study, published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, investigated the effects of a 12-week yoga program on weight loss in overweight and obese women. The results showed that the women who participated in the yoga program experienced a significant reduction in weight and body mass index (BMI) compared to the control group.
Another study, published in the International Journal of Yoga, looked at the effects of a 12-week yoga program on weight loss in overweight and obese men. The results showed that the men who participated in the yoga program experienced a significant reduction in weight and BMI compared to the control group.
While these studies provide some evidence to support the connection between yoga and weight loss, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between the two. Additionally, it is important to note that yoga should not be used as a sole method for weight loss, and should be combined with a healthy diet and exercise regimen for best results.
How Yoga Can Help You Lose Weight
Improving Body Awareness and Mindfulness
Practicing yoga can help you develop a greater awareness of your body, which can lead to a more mindful approach to eating and physical activity. Here are some ways in which yoga can improve body awareness and mindfulness:
- Developing body awareness: Through the practice of yoga, you learn to tune in to your body’s needs and sensations. This can help you become more attuned to your hunger and fullness cues, which can prevent overeating or eating too quickly. By paying attention to your body’s signals, you can make more mindful choices about what, when, and how much to eat.
- Increasing body consciousness: Yoga encourages you to focus on your breath and physical sensations, which can help you become more aware of your body’s movements and posture. This can translate to greater body consciousness in your daily life, including how you sit, stand, and move throughout the day. By being more mindful of your posture and body language, you can prevent mindless snacking or overeating due to stress or boredom.
- Reducing stress and anxiety: Yoga has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels, which can be a major contributor to overeating or emotional eating. When you feel stressed or anxious, you may be more likely to reach for comfort foods or snacks. However, by practicing yoga regularly, you can develop a greater sense of calm and relaxation, which can help you better manage stress and avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms.
- Developing mindfulness: Mindfulness is a key component of yoga, and it involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. By practicing mindfulness through yoga, you can learn to apply this same mindset to other areas of your life, including your eating habits. This can help you avoid distractions and make more intentional choices about what you eat and how much you eat. Additionally, by savoring each bite and paying attention to the flavors and textures of your food, you can enjoy your meals more fully and prevent mindless eating.
Increasing Flexibility and Strength
Yoga can be an effective tool for weight loss due to its ability to increase flexibility and strength. By incorporating yoga into your weight loss routine, you can improve your body’s overall fitness level, which can help you burn more calories and lose weight faster. Here are some ways in which yoga can increase flexibility and strength:
Improving Range of Motion
One of the primary benefits of yoga is that it can improve your range of motion. When you practice yoga, you perform various poses that stretch and strengthen your muscles. This increased flexibility can help you move more freely and efficiently, which can lead to improved posture and a healthier metabolism. By increasing your range of motion, you can also reduce your risk of injury and improve your overall physical fitness.
Yoga can also help you build strength, which is an essential component of weight loss. When you perform yoga poses, you engage your muscles in a controlled manner, which can help build muscle mass and improve your overall physical strength. By increasing your muscle mass, you can boost your metabolism and burn more calories, even at rest. This increased strength can also help you perform daily activities with more ease, which can further increase your calorie burn.
Toning Your Body
Yoga can also help tone your body, which can make you look and feel more fit. By practicing yoga regularly, you can build lean muscle mass, which can help give your body a more toned appearance. Yoga can also help you lose weight in specific areas of your body, such as your belly or hips, by targeting specific muscle groups. By toning your body, you can also improve your posture and reduce your risk of injury.
Yoga can also help increase circulation throughout your body, which can aid in weight loss. When you practice yoga, you perform various poses that can increase blood flow to your muscles and organs. This increased circulation can help your body recover more quickly from exercise and improve your overall health. By increasing circulation, you can also reduce inflammation and improve your immune system, which can further aid in weight loss.
Overall, incorporating yoga into your weight loss routine can be a great way to increase your flexibility and strength. By practicing yoga regularly, you can improve your body’s overall fitness level, which can help you burn more calories and lose weight faster. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, there are many yoga poses and sequences that can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Managing Stress and Emotional Eating
While yoga may not burn as many calories as a traditional cardio workout, it can play a crucial role in managing stress and emotional eating.
Stress can wreak havoc on the body, leading to weight gain and other health problems. By practicing yoga, individuals can reduce stress levels, lower cortisol (the stress hormone), and promote relaxation. Some yoga poses that are particularly effective in reducing stress include:
- Child’s Pose: This pose is often used as a resting pose between more challenging poses. It can help to calm the mind and body, making it an excellent option for those feeling overwhelmed.
- Downward-Facing Dog: This pose is an excellent way to stretch the entire body, promoting relaxation and reducing tension.
- Cobra Pose: This backbend can help to stretch the spine and chest, promoting feelings of openness and relaxation.
Addressing Emotional Eating:
Emotional eating, or the tendency to use food as a coping mechanism for stress or emotions, can be a significant obstacle in weight loss. By practicing yoga, individuals can develop a greater awareness of their emotions and learn healthier ways to cope with stress.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and breathing exercises, can help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and emotions, allowing them to make healthier choices when it comes to food.
- Building Self-Compassion: Yoga can help individuals develop a greater sense of self-compassion, which can reduce the need to use food as a coping mechanism. Poses such as Savasana (Corpse Pose) can help individuals feel more connected to their bodies and foster a sense of self-love.
Overall, while yoga may not be a weight loss miracle, it can play a significant role in managing stress and emotional eating, making it an essential component of a holistic weight loss plan.
Best Yoga Poses for Weight Loss
Sun Salutations, also known as Surya Namaskar, is a series of yoga poses that are specifically designed to help individuals lose weight. This ancient practice originated in India and has been a part of the Hindu tradition for thousands of years. The poses in Sun Salutations are meant to be done in a specific sequence, with each pose flowing seamlessly into the next.
One of the key benefits of Sun Salutations for weight loss is that it helps to increase your metabolism. When you perform the various poses in the sequence, your body is required to work harder, which in turn increases your caloric burn. This means that you can expect to lose weight more quickly when incorporating Sun Salutations into your daily routine.
In addition to increasing your metabolism, Sun Salutations also help to tone your muscles. Each pose in the sequence works to target specific muscle groups, helping to tone and strengthen them over time. This can help you to build a leaner, more defined physique, which is often desirable for those looking to lose weight.
It’s important to note that while Sun Salutations can be an effective tool for weight loss, they should not be relied upon as the sole method of losing weight. It’s always best to incorporate a healthy diet and regular exercise routine alongside your yoga practice for optimal results.
To get started with Sun Salutations, it’s recommended that you begin with a simple sequence of the following poses:
- Mountain Pose
- Downward-Facing Dog
- Plank Pose
- Low Lunge
- High Lunge
- Warrior I
- Warrior II
- Half Moon
- Forward Fold
From there, you can gradually add more poses and modify the sequence to suit your individual needs and fitness level. It’s recommended that you practice Sun Salutations under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor to ensure that you are performing the poses correctly and safely.
Warrior poses, also known as “Virabhadrasana,” are a series of yoga poses that can help improve flexibility, balance, and strength while also aiding in weight loss. These poses are typically performed with the feet wide apart and the hands raised overhead, creating an “I” shape with the body.
Benefits of Warrior Poses
- Increased strength and flexibility in the legs, hips, and back
- Improved balance and stability
- Burning of calories and reduction of body fat
- Enhanced overall physical and mental well-being
How to Perform Warrior Poses
- Start in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your toes curled under.
- Bring your right knee forward and place it directly over your right wrist.
- Shift your weight forward onto your right leg and lift your left leg up, reaching for your toes or ankle.
- Keep your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed, looking forward or slightly up towards the ceiling.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides.
Variations of Warrior Poses
- Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)
- Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
- Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III)
- Virabhadrasana IV (Warrior IV)
By incorporating these warrior poses into your yoga routine, you can improve your overall physical fitness while also working towards weight loss goals. Remember to listen to your body and modify the poses as needed to avoid injury.
Plank pose, also known as Chaturanga in Sanskrit, is a powerful yoga pose that targets multiple muscle groups in the body, including the core, arms, and legs. It is an excellent pose for building strength and endurance, which can aid in weight loss efforts.
Benefits of Plank Pose
Plank pose has numerous benefits for those looking to lose weight. Here are some of the most significant advantages:
- Builds Core Strength: Plank pose is an excellent exercise for strengthening the core muscles, which play a crucial role in weight loss. A strong core helps you maintain proper posture, which in turn can help you burn more calories throughout the day.
- Burns Calories: Plank pose is a great way to burn calories and fat. Holding the pose for an extended period can be an effective cardiovascular workout, which can help you burn calories and lose weight.
- Tones Arms and Legs: Plank pose targets the arms and legs, helping to tone and strengthen these muscles. This can help you build a leaner, more toned physique, which can aid in weight loss efforts.
How to Perform Plank Pose
To perform plank pose, follow these steps:
- Start in a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Engage your core muscles and draw your belly button towards your spine.
- Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Hold the pose for as long as you can, working up to longer holds as you become stronger.
- To come out of the pose, lower one arm at a time, keeping your body in a straight line.
Modifications and Variations
For those who are new to plank pose or have limited mobility, there are several modifications and variations that can be done. Here are a few examples:
- Modified Plank Pose: This variation can be done on your knees instead of your toes, making it easier to hold the pose.
- Plank Pose with Leg Lifts: This variation involves lifting one leg at a time while holding the plank pose, which can help to engage the core and leg muscles.
- Plank Pose with Arm Lifts: This variation involves lifting one arm at a time while holding the plank pose, which can help to engage the arm and shoulder muscles.
Plank pose is a powerful yoga pose that can aid in weight loss efforts by building core strength, burning calories, and toning arms and legs. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced practitioner, there are modifications and variations available to help you get the most out of this pose. So why not give it a try and see how it can benefit your weight loss journey?
Creating a Yoga-Based Weight Loss Plan
Setting Realistic Goals
When embarking on a yoga-based weight loss plan, it is essential to set realistic goals. Unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment and discontinuation of the plan. To set achievable goals, consider the following:
- Identify your starting point: Take stock of your current weight, body composition, and fitness level. This will help you understand the extent of your progress and allow you to set attainable goals.
- Break down your goal: Rather than aiming for a specific number on the scale, break down your weight loss goal into smaller, achievable milestones. For example, aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week, which is a safe and sustainable rate of weight loss.
- Set non-scale goals: In addition to weight loss, set non-scale goals that focus on overall health and well-being. These could include improving flexibility, reducing stress, or increasing energy levels.
- Make it SMART: Ensure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This will help you create a clear plan and stay motivated throughout your journey.
- Consult a professional: If you are unsure about how to set realistic goals, consult a healthcare professional, nutritionist, or yoga instructor. They can provide personalized guidance based on your unique needs and circumstances.
By setting realistic goals, you will be more likely to achieve them and maintain them over the long term. Remember, sustainable weight loss takes time and effort, but the benefits to your health and well-being are well worth it.
Incorporating Yoga into Your Daily Routine
Tips for Successful Incorporation
- Begin Gradually: To prevent injury or overexertion, start with gentle yoga poses and gradually increase intensity over time.
- Make it a Habit: Consistency is key. Try to practice yoga daily, ideally in the morning to kickstart your day.
- Find a Yoga Style That Suits You: With numerous yoga styles available, such as Hatha, Vinyasa, and Ashtanga, it’s essential to find one that aligns with your personal preferences and goals.
- Practice Outside of Class: Incorporate yoga into your daily routine by practicing at home or in nature.
- Stay Mindful: Keep track of your progress, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Yoga is a holistic practice, and the benefits may take time to manifest.
Integrating Breathing Techniques and Meditation
- Pranayama: Breathing exercises, or pranayama, are an integral part of yoga. Techniques like Ujjayi Breath can help regulate breathing, reduce stress, and increase focus during physical practice.
- Meditation: Incorporate meditation into your daily routine to improve mindfulness and mental clarity. Regular meditation can help you make healthier food choices and develop a more positive relationship with your body.
Aligning Yoga with a Balanced Diet and Regular Exercise
- Nutrition: A balanced diet rich in whole foods, lean proteins, and vegetables is essential for overall health and weight loss. Yoga can help improve digestion and metabolism, but it shouldn’t replace a healthy diet.
- Cardiovascular Exercise: In addition to yoga, engage in moderate-intensity cardio exercises like brisk walking, cycling, or swimming for at least 150 minutes per week to boost weight loss efforts.
- Strength Training: Strength training with weights or resistance bands can help build muscle mass, which in turn increases metabolism and supports weight loss.
By incorporating yoga into your daily routine, you can develop a comprehensive approach to weight loss that focuses on physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Tracking Progress and Modifying Your Plan
When creating a yoga-based weight loss plan, it’s important to track your progress and make modifications as needed. Here are some tips to help you do just that:
Weighing Yourself Regularly
One of the best ways to track your progress is by weighing yourself regularly. It’s recommended to weigh yourself at least once a week, ideally on the same day at the same time each week. This will give you a good idea of how much weight you’re losing, or if you’re gaining weight.
Keeping a Food Diary
Another way to track your progress is by keeping a food diary. This can help you stay accountable for what you’re eating and how much. You can use a food diary app or simply write it down in a notebook. Make sure to include the following information:
- What you ate
- How much you ate
- When you ate
- How you felt after eating
Measuring Your Body
In addition to weighing yourself, it’s also important to measure your body regularly. Use a tape measure to measure your waist, hips, and other areas of your body. This will give you a better idea of how your body is changing, and not just your weight.
Adjusting Your Plan
Based on your progress, you may need to adjust your plan. If you’re not losing weight as quickly as you’d like, you may need to increase the intensity or frequency of your yoga practice. If you’re losing weight too quickly, you may need to dial it back a bit. It’s important to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed.
In addition to adjusting your yoga practice, you may also need to adjust your diet and exercise routine. If you’re not seeing the results you want, it may be time to try something new. This could mean trying a different type of yoga, or incorporating other forms of exercise into your routine. It could also mean making changes to your diet, such as cutting back on processed foods or increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables.
Remember, losing weight is a journey, and it’s not always a straight path. There will be ups and downs, and that’s okay. As long as you’re making progress and moving in the right direction, you’re on the right track.
The Verdict on Yoga and Weight Loss
Yoga as a Complementary Approach to Weight Loss
Yoga is not a one-size-fits-all solution for weight loss, but it can be a valuable complementary approach to be incorporated into a comprehensive weight loss plan. It is important to understand that yoga alone may not result in significant weight loss, but it can be a useful tool to support and enhance the effects of other weight loss strategies.
Yoga’s Potential Role in Emotional Eating and Mindfulness
One of the significant benefits of yoga is its ability to promote mindfulness and emotional regulation. Practicing yoga can help individuals develop a greater awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which can be particularly helpful for those who struggle with emotional eating. By increasing self-awareness and developing coping strategies, yoga can support individuals in making healthier food choices and managing their emotions in a more constructive way.
The Influence of Yoga on Metabolism and Body Composition
While the evidence on the direct effects of yoga on metabolism and body composition is limited, some studies suggest that regular yoga practice may have a positive impact on these factors. For example, a study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine found that a 12-week yoga program resulted in a significant reduction in body weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference in overweight and obese individuals. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and understand the mechanisms behind them.
The Importance of a Holistic Approach to Weight Loss
It is crucial to adopt a holistic approach to weight loss that addresses not only physical factors but also psychological, social, and environmental factors. Yoga can be a valuable component of such an approach, as it can help individuals develop a greater understanding of their body, mind, and emotions, and cultivate healthier habits and attitudes towards food and exercise. By incorporating yoga into a comprehensive weight loss plan, individuals may be better equipped to achieve and maintain a healthy weight in a sustainable and balanced way.
Exploring Other Fitness Options
When considering a yoga-based weight loss plan, it is important to explore other fitness options to ensure a well-rounded approach to your weight loss journey. While yoga can be a great addition to any fitness routine, it may not be enough on its own to achieve significant weight loss results. Here are some other fitness options to consider:
Cardiovascular exercise, such as running, cycling, or swimming, is an essential component of any weight loss plan. These activities help to burn calories and increase heart rate, which can lead to improved cardiovascular health and weight loss. While yoga may not be the best option for cardiovascular exercise, it can be combined with other forms of exercise to create a comprehensive weight loss plan.
Resistance training, such as weight lifting or bodyweight exercises, is another important aspect of weight loss. Building muscle through resistance training can help to increase metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day. While yoga may not be the best option for resistance training, it can be combined with other forms of exercise to create a comprehensive weight loss plan.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that involves short bursts of intense activity followed by periods of rest. HIIT has been shown to be an effective way to burn calories and improve cardiovascular health. While yoga may not be the best option for HIIT, it can be combined with other forms of exercise to create a comprehensive weight loss plan.
Overall, when creating a yoga-based weight loss plan, it is important to explore other fitness options to ensure a well-rounded approach to your weight loss journey. By combining yoga with other forms of exercise, you can create a comprehensive plan that addresses all aspects of weight loss, including cardiovascular health, muscle building, and calorie burning.
1. What is the relationship between yoga and weight loss?
Yoga can be a useful tool for weight loss as it helps to increase flexibility, strength, and overall fitness. However, it is important to note that yoga alone is unlikely to result in significant weight loss, and a healthy diet and regular exercise are also necessary for achieving weight loss goals.
2. Are there specific yoga poses that can help with weight loss?
Certain yoga poses can help to increase circulation and promote the burning of calories, such as Warrior II, Plank, and Downward-Facing Dog. However, it is important to practice a well-rounded yoga routine that includes a variety of poses in order to see the best results.
3. How often should I practice yoga to see weight loss results?
It is recommended to practice yoga regularly, at least 3-4 times per week, in order to see weight loss results. However, it is important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard, as overdoing it can lead to injury.
4. Are there any precautions I should take when practicing yoga for weight loss?
Yes, it is important to consult with a doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have any underlying health conditions. It is also important to listen to your body and modify or skip any pose that does not feel comfortable or safe for you.
5. Can I lose weight doing yoga without changing my diet or exercise routine?
While yoga can be a helpful tool for weight loss, it is unlikely that you will see significant results without also making changes to your diet and exercise routine. A healthy diet and regular exercise are necessary for achieving weight loss goals, and yoga can be a complementary part of a overall healthy lifestyle.