Does yoga have solutions for the middle-aged spread? Are your knees, back, hips, and shoulders begging for mercy? Restorative Yoga is a complete health maintenance system and low impact form of cross training that will not cause premature wear and tear on the joints.

Let’s be honest, have you noticed a spare tire around your midsection? You could justify it by looking at teenagers. After all, it took him almost 50 years to become overweight. Then one day, you saw that spare tire in the mirror or in a photograph.

Walking is a wonderful form of cross-training, but if you wear a pedometer, you know that 10,000 steps a day is a “mission.” If your knees, ankles, plantar fascia, and Achilles tendons are fine, then an aggressive walking program will probably suit your body.

We have to do something, but this is not the time to abuse body parts. Walking is still a great form of exercise, but not to the point of pain. Fortunately, Restorative Yoga is great for aches and pains. This is not a pass to abuse yourself with high-impact exercise or overdo it with excessive amounts of low-impact exercise.

In middle age and beyond, it’s all about moderation. In fact, moderation is a lifestyle for longevity. Restorative yoga, walking, and a moderate diet are good adjuncts to a complete health maintenance program.

“I don’t eat that much,” you tell yourself. The truth is that most middle-aged people eat less than before because we are much more aware of what we eat. An additional factor is that overeating is very uncomfortable.

Of course, there is always an exception to the rule. For example: the “skinny guy”, who could always eat due to a fast metabolism, never seems to gain weight. The vast majority of us will notice that our metabolism has slowed down.

According to Madelyn H. Fernstrom, Ph.D., director of the Center for Weight Management at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, “Your metabolism slows 5% every decade. Compared to age 25, you’ll burn about 100 fewer calories a day at 35, and 200 fewer at 45. Do nothing and you could gain eight to 12 pounds a year.”

For most of us, this is a “warning bell.” We have to burn extra calories, but our joints need to be treated like gold. Again, a gentle, restorative form of Yoga is a logical solution.

In general, everyone burns calories at a different rate than an identical activity. The most common reason cited for the difference in calories burned is body weight, but there are many factors to consider, such as metabolism and body fat.

For the sake of comparison, let’s look at a gentle restorative yoga session and the calories burned over the course of an hour. You could do this, without breaking a sweat, on your living room floor, about an hour or two before bed. You can also walk to a local yoga studio depending on your location.

A person who weighs 150 pounds would burn an average of 178 calories in an hour of Restorative Yoga practice. A larger person, who weighs 200 pounds, would burn an average of 238 calories in an hour. Generally speaking, the bigger you are, the more calories you burn. Lastly, keep in mind that this is a very gentle style of yoga.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications