There has been a lot of talk in the fitness world as to which has more health benefits: yoga or cardio? There’s no doubt that both will increase your fitness level, burn some calories and make you feel good about yourself. But, is one notably better than the other? Or do they work in tandem with one another? I have done some digging into the matter to try and get to the bottom of this question.
First of all, let’s take a look at whether or not yoga counts as cardio. There are advocates on both side of this debate but the long and short of it seems to be: sometimes – which is a bit of an annoying answer. Cardio is essentially any exercise that raises your heart rate. While yoga seems like quite a peaceful form of exercise, there are certain types (vinyasa for example) that certainly get the blood pumping faster than usual and make you breath a lot heavier. However, it is generally agreed that yoga alone is not enough to count as a cardio workout. but, it can act as a good supplement to cardio if that’s what you're into.
Ok, so yoga isn’t quite the same as cardio. Now, lets take a look at the health benefits of each. We will start with yoga. The whole world is going mad for yoga right now. It is impossible to spend even a minute on Instagram without seeing someone posing in a yoga position somewhere exotic, making it look way easier than it actually is. Yoga was the buzzword of 2017 and it doesn't look like it will be going anywhere any time soon.
Among the many health benefits that yoga offers are some that can completely transform your life. These include lower stress levels, increased flexibility, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels, increased lung capacity and a lower risk of heart disease. Sounds like a work out sent from the gods, right?
What about cardio? You can be sure that cardio certainly holds its own on the workout scene. Cardio can take the form of jogging, circuit training and spinning. Some of its health benefits include a reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer, stronger heart and lungs, weight loss and reduced stress. Our bodies were built to move, so cardio should be an essential part of your fitness routine.
Clearly, cardio and yoga both have their advantages, but is it possible to say definitively that one is better than the other? Well, it turns out that each is better in its own way. If your aim is to burn fat and lose weight then you will need to stick predominantly to cardio. Fat loss occurs when more calories are being burned than consumed so get that heart rate racing. Yoga, on the other hand, is much better for those who are looking to increase their levels of strength and endurance. Cardio does not do much for strength levels but yoga is great for it.
One thing that both types of exercises have in common is the changes they cause in your mental health and wellbeing. Being in good physical shape can alter your outlook on life and make you happier and less stressed out. When it comes to who is better at doing this, there is no clear winner, it is all about you as an individual and what your body responds to.
So, what are you waiting for? Dust of your sneakers and get moving!