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Yoga, Cardio, or Strength Training - Which Is Right For You?

Updated on May 5, 2015

Exercise for a Better Life

Let's face it - we all would like to look our best. In order to do that, we need to keep our bodies in the best physical condition possible. There are many different philosophies on just how to do that, and all of this mixed and conflicting information can be very confusing.

Through this article, I will attempt to try to wade through all the facts and myths, and compare the most popular schools of thought regarding styles of exercise - from there, it is up to you to decide which is best for you.

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Yoga

Yoga has become widely accepted by fitness and health professionals alike as having many benefits to your body, weight loss goals, and even mental health. Some of the most common benefits of practicing yoga include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Better flexibility
  • Increased stamina
  • Better posture
  • Improved breathing techniques
  • Reduced Stress
  • Better cardiovascular health

One of the added benefits of yoga is that anyone can do it! There are instructional videos for the most inexperienced beginners, and with increased practice, there are videos which offer plenty of challenges as well. Additionally, many fitness centers and communities offer affordable classes if you'd like to meet with an instructor in person.

For Beginners

While yoga does have an impressive amount of health benefits, many people have argued that the results are not as quick as they might be with other forms of exercise. On average, a 150 pound person will burn 150 calories with one hour of yoga practice. This may not seem like very much when compared to the fact that a person can burn over 300 calories walking one hour at 3 miles per hour.

Yoga Instructor Dana Edison, Director of Radius Yoga in Massachusetts, states, "Can yoga build muscle? Yes. Is a fast-paced, power class aerobic? Sometimes. And can you sweat out water weight in a 105-degree room? Sure. But can the average overweight person effectively shed pounds through a one-size-fits-all physical yoga practice? Not realistically or safely,"

The Result: Yoga has many health benefits, and the improvements to one's breathing, flexibility and reportedly the gained benefit of 'mindfullness' can help anyone's overall physical and mental health. However, if you are looking to lose weight exclusively, this might not be the main form of exercise to use. But Yoga can help your body improve in a variety of ways - so don't rule it out yet!

Cardio Exercise

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Cardio Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise has so many benefits, it may be difficult to name them all in this article alone. The arguments from many fitness professionals who advocate for cardio is that the human body was meant to move. It is naturally what our body requires to look and feel our best. After a cardio workout, majority of participants reported that they felt relief from stress, had a largely increased metabolism, improved their confidence, and more. Some of cardio's proven benefits include, but are not at all limited to:

  • Stronger Heart and increased lung capacity
  • More energy and reduced fatigue throughout the day
  • Reduced stress
  • Lowered risk of some types of cancer
  • Improved sleep
  • Significant Weight Loss!

Cardio with No Equipment

Cardio is the best exercise to improve circulation throughout the body, alleviating many areas of stress and tension on the body from repeated daily activity (like back or neck tension from driving or sitting at a desk). Additionally, many weight-loss professionals strongly advocate for the addition of cardio to one's diet for the best weight-loss results in the best amount of time.

Results: Cardio has multiple health benefits, but the greatest of which is its ability to help manage and maintain a healthy body weight. Doing cardio in addition to a healthy diet can also ensure that you not only appear 'thin,' but helps to maintain a proper body fat percentage as well.

Strength Training

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Strength Training

Strength training has always been a popular form of exercise for anyone looking to increase muscle mass and gain physical strength. Once a style of working out reserved primarily for men, many personal trainers and fitness experts have started to recommend strength training for women as well.

Yoga may help you to tone, cardio boosts your metabolism, and strength training? Well, it can do all that and more. Some of the benefits of strength training include, but of course are not limited to:

  • Increase bone density - bones lose density as we get older, and strength training helps prevent that
  • Increased energy and stamina
  • Increased physical strength and endurance
  • Manage your body weight and image
  • Increase your metabolism
  • Prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes
  • Sharper focus for older participants

As we get older, we as humans lose muscle mass and bone density. Strength training can help to rebuild what we loose with age, and keep our bodies in top physical condition. As with most forms of exercise, strength training can help alleviate stress and boost mood, which can help with mental health as well.

The additional benefits of strength training, however, comes from the fact that muscle actually burns fat! Simply by having an increased amount of muscle can burn calories throughout the day. While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how many calories, specialists argue that one pound of pure muscle can burn between 30-100 calories in a day, depending on your body type and metabolic rate.

Results: Strength training has similar benefits to yoga and cardio, but has the additional benefits of creating hard or lean muscle which not only looks attractive on our bodies, but also helps us to burn calories even when not working out. It appears that adding strength training to your workout regimen may be the best way to lose weight; however, it truly depends on each individual's body type and how quickly one can put on muscle. Therefore, some may benefit from strength training quickly, while others may take more time and dedication to the practice.

Which kind of exercise do you think would work best for you?

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Combining Yoga, Cardio, and a Strength exercise
Combining Yoga, Cardio, and a Strength exercise | Source

Conclusion

It appears that Yoga, Cardiovascular Exercise, and Strength Training all have a number of health benefits and can all help us get the body we want. However, each style appears to have its own pro's and con's.

The conclusion is, there may not be only one style of exercise that is best for everyone. Each person is different, and what may work for one person may not be best for another. The best way to figure this out is to try out each form of exercise and find out what works best for you.

Many fitness professionals, health experts, and weight-loss advisers argue that it is not simply one type of exercise that makes a difference, but a combination of these styles which may have the best result on your body. A little yoga here and there, cardio a few times a week, all mixed in with some strength training may work wonders on your circulatory system, immune system, energy levels, mental health, and more than anything, on how your body looks and feels over all.

Try all three, and submit your feedback to let readers know what works for you!

Yoga + Cardio

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    • sandeep15r profile image

      Sandeep Rathore 2 years ago from New Delhi

      Great hub, indeed!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub, KMS. Yoga have been doing wonders for my back since last fall, along with Pilates and water aerobics. Very informative and voted up for interesting!

    • KMSplumeau profile image
      Author

      KMSplumeau 2 years ago

      Thank you! Yes I found personally and have gotten feedback from many people that a combination of all three forms of exercise have produced great results. Thank you for your feedback as well!

    • Christy Maria profile image

      Christy Maria 2 years ago

      Hello!

      I personally enjoy doing all three of these types of workouts. Working out is so great because I feel so good about myself and have more confidence, and overall I just feel healthy. I enjoy taking time a couple times a week to rotate between yoga, cardio, or strength! Great article. Voting interesting, awesome, and useful.

    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 2 years ago

      Hi yes to life ! I like your choice name to represent yourself.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      Good explanation of these training exercises. I do a combo of cardio and strength training myself. The yoga video is a good one for beginners.

    • KMSplumeau profile image
      Author

      KMSplumeau 2 years ago

      Thank you for your feedback! I feel the same way, and I try to incorporate all of these into my workout routines when I can. Thanks for commenting!

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      It's really best to do all of the above, to maintain your strength, flexibility, and stamina. A proper balance is necessary for overall health. Great article!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      So perhaps we can choose one of the three for different days and get all of it in. Thanks for the explanations and pros and cons.

    • KMSplumeau profile image
      Author

      KMSplumeau 2 years ago

      Thank you, I appreciate the feedback!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      A great overview of the three types of training and how they may be used for benefit. Thanks