A big part of exercising is choosing a workout plan and sticking to it. And a big part of sticking to a workout plan is selecting exercises you enjoy and setting health and fitness goals, particularly weight loss goals.
When it comes to weight loss, we have seen it all. For the most part, yoga looks to be a lot of hard work with delayed results, but when it comes to cardio, we see immediate results and change; they aren’t very long-lasting since once you stop doing cardio, you begin to gain weight again. So yoga vs. cardio, which one is more effective?
Generally, yoga burns fewer calories per minute than cardio. Even though yoga burns fewer calories than cardio, it is a steady path to weight loss. Like, running, yoga also improves your metabolic rate, meaning your body will continue to burn calories faster during the day.
Read on to find out the difference between cardio and yoga, the benefits of both yoga and cardio and choose which one is better for you. You might also enjoy reading: Can You Actually Sleep After Yoga? (Let’s Find Out)
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Difference Between Yoga and Cardio
Cardio (AKA aerobic exercise) focuses on activities that improve fitness by increasing your oxygen intake and heart rate, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Generally, cardio activities are fitness exercises that help burn many calories, improve endurance, and strengthen the heart and lungs. Cardio activities include any activity, such as walking, jogging, running, biking, swimming, and jump roping.
Yoga, on the other hand, symbolizes the union of the body and mind, and it is a combination of yoga asanas, pranayama, and meditation. And generally, yoga is not just a workout but a lifestyle.
The main benefit of practicing yoga is that yoga makes your body more flexible and gives you lean muscles. Even though yoga does not burn as many calories as aerobics, yoga is good for strength training as most asanas are bodyweight poses. Yoga regulates the breathing process.
Yoga Vs. Cardio: a Comparison
Here is a snapshot of a comparison of yoga vs. cardio.
|Origin||Cardio activity should be at least 150 minutes moderate each week, including walking, running, jogging, biking, and swimming.||The mind-body concept, including cardio, has had a tenuous development. |
Modern cardio fitness (AKA aerobics) was pioneered in the USA by the physician Kenneth H. Cooper and popularized in his publications Aerobics (1968) and The Aerobics Way (1977).
|Description||Yoga is a way of promoting mental and physical well-being by increasing strength, flexibility, and breathing.||Cardio is defined as any physical activity that improves your heart rate and keeps it up for a prolonged period.|
|Goals||The main goal of yoga is Self Realisation. In other words, yoga is about seeking your true Self and becoming entirely free from desires and worldly attachments.||Cardio activity should be at least 150 minutes moderate each week, including walking, running, jogging, biking, swimming.|
– breathing techniques
– Physical postures
– And meditation.
– Brisk walking
– Jumping Jacks
– Martial arts including karate and BJJ.
|Equipment needed||Equipment needed for yoga includes: |
– Good quality yoga mat
– Yoga strap and blocks
– Yoga cushions, bolster, and pillows
– Track progress with a fitness tracker and yoga journal
– Check these 7 essential yoga props, including how to use properly use them.
|Equipment needed for cardio includes: |
– Treadmill. You can find treadmills at practically any gym, or you can invest in a treadmill for your home.
– Rowing machine.
– Indoor stationary bike
– Any stairs
|Where to Practice the activity||You can practice yoga virtually anywhere: |
– At home
– At the park
– In the office
– At the gym or yoga club
|Similar to yoga, you can do cardio virtually anywhere: |
– At home
– At the park
– In the office
– At the gym
What Is More Effective, Cardio Or Yoga?
A systematic study of 37 randomized controlled trials, including 2768 people issued by the European Society of Cardiology and led by researchers from the Netherlands and the USA, found that yoga may provide similar risk factor reduction benefits as traditional physical activities such as biking or brisk walking.
Yoga offers tremendous benefits. In order words, you can stand taller, be more flexible, feel stronger, and have better balance by practicing yoga.
However, depending on the intensity, running burns far more calories per minute than yoga, which helps you lose weight faster. In addition, any activity that helps create a calorie deficit in your body can help you lose weight. Therefore, the more calories you burn during exercise, the more effective the activity is.
The table shows the calories burned in 1 hour doing Hatha Yoga vs. cardio activities; you see that all the cardio activities burn more calories than Hatha yoga.
Calories Burned in 1 hour doing Hatha Yoga vs. Cardio
|Physical Activities||125-pound (56.70 Kg) Individual||155-pound (70.31 Kg) Individual||185-pound (83.92 Kg) Individual|
|Walking: 4 miles per hour (15 min/mi)||270||350||378|
|Running: 5 miles per hour or mph (12 min/mile)||480||576||672|
|Cycling or stationary bike at moderate intensity||420||504||588|
|Rowing at moderate intensity||420||504||588|
|Jogging: jog <10 min.||360||432||504|
Yoga Vs. Cardio: The Benefits of Each
Whether you are a beginner at working out or even are looking to adjust your workout routine, it is essential to understand the benefits of different activities.
But, if you want to lose weight, consider adding more cardio exercises to your workout routine. Cardio includes any physical activity that raises your heart rate. Examples of cardio exercises include running, walking, jogging, and jumping rope.
Benefits of Yoga
Yoga offers amazing health benefits, and the following are a few of these benefits:
1- Yoga is Effective
Why should you spend so much time at the gym focusing on each area of your body individually when yoga allows you to connect the dots and do everything at once? Lifting weights will never make my arms as strong as supporting my body weight in yoga.
In addition, everything you do in yoga engages your core, from core-centric postures to going from position to pose, relying on your core to keep your body stable. People who do yoga are more likely to be more health-conscious and eat a better diet.
Yoga allows you to simultaneously boost your heart rate, strengthen your muscles, and stretch them.
2- Yoga Is Not a Competitive Sport
People prefer yoga over the gym because it allows them to avoid anything that entails competing with others. Isn’t there already enough rivalry at home and in the workplace?
While some individuals like competing in spin class or running longer than the woman on the treadmill next to them, in yoga, it doesn’t matter what the other people are doing. There is no such thing as comparison or competition.
As your practice develops, you will find it more challenging to maintain unhealthy habits. You will become more mindful and more compassionate and reap benefits in your relationships with others. Yoga is not just about physical exercise and mind-strengthening activity.
3- Yoga Saves Money
Yoga, in reality, does not have to be expensive. You are the only one who needs to practice. You may wear any clothing you choose as long as they enable you to move, and you don’t even need a yoga mat; grass and carpet would suffice.
There are dozens of fantastic, affordable yoga DVDs or free YouTube videos if you need some inspiration.
However, if you are a beginner, ensure you follow the proper form; I recommend you join yoga classes at least until you learn the proper way of doing the basic yoga poses.
You are more likely to benefit if you go to a class, at least initially, rather than just looking at a DVD. A good teacher will consider students’ existing health problems and show them how to do it properly.
4- Yoga Will Help You Lose Weight
Yoga transforms your psyche: it changes how you think about life, your body, and food. Yoga teaches you to appreciate your body for all of the wonderful things it can do for you, as well as the desire to change your diet with the greatest possible fuel rather than artificial unhealthy snacks.
And altering your attitude about your body and the meals you eat will be a far more successful weight strategy than burning many calories in an intensive kickboxing session and then blindly consuming the same amount of calories later that day.
5- Yoga Has a Lot of Variety
If you want it to be, yoga may be different every day. Are you up for a challenge? Include arm balances and inversions in your workout. Do you need to concentrate?
On the same foot, try a few balance postures in a row. If you are looking for a relaxing pose, try the pigeon pose with a couple of sitting forward folds and a restorative backend.
There are many benefits to practicing yoga and incorporating it into your daily life. These range from physical ones, such as weight loss, to mental benefits, like being a stress reliever.
However, cardio also has a lot of advantages, so don’t write it off just yet. Following are some of the benefits of practicing cardio exercises.
Benefits of Cardio
Frequent exercise is robustly associated with a reduction in cardiovascular mortality and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to several studies.
1- Cardio Is Great For Weight Loss
One of the most common motivations for people to begin a cardiac exercise regimen is to reduce weight. Cardio is an excellent fat-burning and calorie-burning activity for individuals trying to reduce weight.
While food is the most important factor in weight reduction, you should incorporate cardio into your regimen to help you achieve your goal of losing a few pounds. This is because exercise may burn hundreds of calories in a single session.
2- Cardio Help Reduce the Risk of Diseases
Cardio activity also lowers the risk of many fatal illnesses. Heart attacks and strokes affect more than 868,000 Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Cardio exercise is one strategy to lower your risk of heart attacks and the underlying causes of heart attacks, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Many people are also afflicted with illnesses like diabetes and cancer, making it essential to fit in physical exercise to reduce the risk of being afflicted with these diseases.
3- Cardio Improves Lung Capacity
Many individuals avoid cardio since it might be difficult to breathe while performing the activity. Your lungs, on the other hand, are benefiting from the heavy breathing you’re doing.
4- Cardio Naturally Boosts Energy
People frequently take energy drinks and coffee throughout the day to stay awake. Others find it impossible to go through the day without having a long snooze.
However, if you use these approaches excessively, they might be detrimental to your health. Cardio exercise is a better choice. It can help you feel more energized naturally, which is why many individuals start their day with some exercise.
5- Cardio Leads to Better Sleep
Decent sleep is difficult to come by for many people simply because falling asleep is tough. When you incorporate cardio into your daily routine, you will notice an improvement in the quality of your sleep.
You will be weary in the evening, shortly before going to bed, if you include exercise in your daily routine. As a result, getting into bed and falling asleep at a respectable hour will be much simpler.
Yoga Versus Cardio: Which One Should You Choose?
As you can see, yoga and cardio both have their advantages, and so there is no simple answer to the question, is yoga more effective than exercise? I recommend you include both cardio and yoga in your fitness routine, as both offer benefits to make your body healthy and strong.
But if your goal is to improve flexibility, balance, and relaxation, avoid cardio and lean more towards yoga. Similarly, if your main goal is to lose weight and build muscles and abs faster, you should do cardio activities such as running, cycling, or rowing.
Otherwise, the perfect workout routine is one including both yoga and cardio. You can also discuss your fitness goals with a professional to help decide the most suitable workout for you.