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Yoga: strength or cardio?



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FIVEFINGERS3
SparkPoints: (163)
Fitness Minutes: (460)
Posts: 4
1/30/13 5:13 P

I've been doing yoga pretty regularly for about a year and half and have become a big fan. I don''t think it can completely replace other forms of exercise for weight loss (unless you are an ascetic), but it is a beneficial component. There are a lot of different styles and techniques under the "yoga" umbrella. There is definitely an element of strength in some practices (particularly core), but I'd say little to no cardio in general. Another key benefit of yoga (aside from balance and flexibility) is alleviation of stress, which IMHO drives a lot of over-eating . . . . Namaste.



GRATTECIELLA
SparkPoints: (23,316)
Fitness Minutes: (14,955)
Posts: 737
1/30/13 1:11 P

I like how the Sparkblog post emphasizes that even though yoga is not cardio (and is not strength, though it has elements of a strength workout) it still has many benefits and has a place in a workout program.



SARAHD33
SparkPoints: (30,347)
Fitness Minutes: (38,907)
Posts: 295
1/30/13 12:20 P

I personally think of yoga as active recovery, for rest days. It is a great way to stay a bit active on days that I don't want to do intense exercise. If I burn any calories in yoga, I just think of them as a bonus, and don't really try to account for them in my calories in/ out equation.

I will say that my teacher really challenges us, and there are times we do so many chaturanga pushups in a row, that I simply can't do another rep. So, sure, there are some elements of strength, but not in a comprehensive way.



PURPLE180
SparkPoints: (25,880)
Fitness Minutes: (19,340)
Posts: 2,892
1/30/13 11:38 A

I have tried Yoga but didn't like it but I was told you need to try it a few times to get the hang of it. I will be trying it again soon.



GRATTECIELLA
SparkPoints: (23,316)
Fitness Minutes: (14,955)
Posts: 737
1/30/13 11:35 A

Just found this spark blog post that seemed relevant:

www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=does_yoga
_count_as_cardio


emoticon emoticon

Edited by: GRATTECIELLA at: 1/30/2013 (11:37)


UNIDENT
Posts: 33,498
1/30/13 4:24 A

The balance depends on your goals and how you split your time. Eg if you prefer doing split body routines every day, you'll need to strength train every day. If you prefer a full body routine, you can get away with once or twice a week.

So maybe yoga 1-2 times, ST 1-2 times, cardio 3 times. That is 5-7 days, leaving adequate space for 1 day of 'rest'.

You can probably get away with yoga on the rest day as well, as it's neither challenging the strength ability of the worn muscles nor the cardio ability of your heart and lungs.



GRATTECIELLA
SparkPoints: (23,316)
Fitness Minutes: (14,955)
Posts: 737
1/29/13 4:19 P

Thanks everyone for weighing in on this. I agree that yoga is not cardio. For me, it feels like a light strength training, but I could be convinced that it's not. I agree that it is movement, and flexibility, and should count towards my fitness minutes.

However, the question is, if it doesn't replace strength or cardio, when am I supposed to find the time to do it? Obviously, working out is not the only thing I have going on in my day, so I need to prioritize what I spend my time on. I normally go to yoga one or occasionally two times a week, and try to run three times a week, and try to fit in some strength training two times a week or so. But I don't have time to do everything every day. And I would not want to cut out yoga because I feel it has positive effects for my tight muscles, my harried mind, et cetera.

So given that I have limited time, what's the proper balance?



CHEETARA79
SparkPoints: (72,089)
Fitness Minutes: (49,791)
Posts: 3,476
1/29/13 3:55 P

I love yoga.

It's definitely not cardio, unless you're doing kundalini yoga and even that might not be true cardio. Spark defines cardio as the rhythmic movement of large muscle groups for at least 10 continuous minutes - think of running, walking, cycling, dancing, etc.

I also don't think it's strength because you're not doing reps and fatiguing your muscles. Some yoga moves are like isometric strength training moves.

Overall, yoga is flexibility and balance training. I think it's a great part of anyone's fitness routine but it shouldn't replace traditional cardio or strength training.



TACDGB
Posts: 6,024
1/29/13 2:54 P

agreed that yoga is flexibility......cardio and strength training is so important too. cardio is good for your heart and lungs. Strength training is good for your joints and muscles.



APRILLPHILLIPS
SparkPoints: (8,058)
Fitness Minutes: (3,634)
Posts: 136
1/29/13 2:20 P

I have heard great things about Yoga so I baught some DVD's and will be starting one tonight.



SIMPLELIFE2
Posts: 699
1/29/13 2:09 P

The amount you are sweating is no indication of how hard you are working. Stable heart rate and steady breathing indicate that it is not cardio. As for strength, once you've experienced the initial adaptation phase, you are not challenging your muscles or creating microdamage that is necessary for strength routines.

I agree with the other posters that it is flexibility. This is a very important but often overlooked component of fitness, but it should be mixed in with cardio and strength routines. Yoga can be very challenging, but it's primary emphasis is still flexibility.

If you want to lose weight, you might be better off with a shorter yoga class and more emphasis on cardio intervals and strength training.



UNIDENT
Posts: 33,498
1/29/13 1:36 P

Strength and cardio are not the only choices. So when you ask "Is yoga strength or cardio?" that is actually a nonsensical question. No it's not. It isn't a dichotomy where something has to be one of those two things.

Yoga is flexibility.

I have seen videos of Vinyasa yoga online and would argue that it's still flexibility yoga, not cardio. You still hold a pose, it's still get into a position and keep it. You 'move' FAR less than if you had simply gone for a walk. And when it comes to muscles burning your calories, it is movement that does it, not how hard it was to move that way or how much you sweat. A gentle walk for the same time would burn more than a session of Vinyasa "power" yoga.

Yoga is fantastic for you! But it's not strength, and it's not cardio, even if some types do help a little in regard to some ST/cardio goals.

Edited by: UNIDENT at: 1/29/2013 (13:36)


UPBEAT551
SparkPoints: (28,400)
Fitness Minutes: (16,674)
Posts: 986
1/29/13 12:09 P

I started doing yin yoga. I feel much more loose after. I can breathe better also. The stretches feel good.



DRAGONCHILDE
SparkPoints: (56,306)
Fitness Minutes: (14,204)
Posts: 9,583
1/29/13 12:07 P

Power yoga's more cardio. If I recall correctly, that's when you are moving from pose to pose pretty quickly, and not holding a lot of them for a long time?

You can tell for yourself though which it is for you. If your heart rate isn't going up, and you're not really increasing your breathing, then it may not be cardio for you. Cardio is generally defined raising your heart rate to 60 to 85 percent of its maximum for an extended period of time, usually at least 10 or so minutes.

Sweating is not an indicator of effort in any way. :) It just means your body is producing heat, and its cooling system is engaged.

Yoga can be gentle, but it doesn't have to be. If you feel it's strength, then count it as strength. Yoga classes can be very different based on the instructor, and my experience may not be the same as yours.



GRATTECIELLA
SparkPoints: (23,316)
Fitness Minutes: (14,955)
Posts: 737
1/29/13 11:05 A

I do a power yoga vinyasa flow class. It's 75 minutes long. As with any yoga class, we start out with some gentle stretching and we end with shavasana (rest), but in between, we do a lot of work. I end up dripping sweat in the class, and I am always sore the next day, especially in the arms and shoulders. But my heart rate doesn't rise to much and my breathing is steady throughout class.

Would this class count as cardio or strength training? Yoga classes are listed under cardio in the spark tracker, but this feels more like strength training to me. I know yoga is generally regarded as just gentle stretching, but this is not a gentle class!



 
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