The thing that lures both newbies and experienced exercisers to yoga is the fact that it boasts a wide variety of styles. However, some questions remain whether it meets the criteria to be regarded as a workout.

Depending on individual opinions, yoga may be classified as a workout if it meets one or more of the following requirements:

  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Strength
  • Power
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Flexibility

All of these criteria must be met in order to have a balanced workout routine.

IS YOGA ENOUGH?

For newbies, yoga will probably provide all of the above-listed elements. Intense yoga styles like Bikram, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa will test both strength and endurance. However, there will be a point when other activities will be needed to supplement the fitness and strength elements.

A yoga teacher said yoga is effective when done to complement other exercise routines. However, it does not provide all the effects necessary for the proper functioning of the body when done on its own

A major shortcoming of yoga is that it does not address upper-body pulling movements. Upper-body pulls help to maintain an upright posture as you age by strengthening muscles.

RESEARCH ON YOGA AND CARDIO

Cardiovascular fitness does not build up from yoga sessions, research reveals. Adults, new to yoga showed no improvement in cardiovascular fitness when practicing high-intensity hatha yoga for one week. This study was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, in 2016.

In the same vein, another study claimed that yoga does not include enough of the physical activity needed to improve cardiovascular fitness. It revealed that the hatha yoga session offers the metabolic equivalent of walking on a treadmill at roughly 2 miles per hour. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that an intensity of 55-90% of the maximum heart rate must be met. Learn more about this on Valkyrie.

Nevertheless, authors claim that yoga practice may improve fitness in adults who are not too active. This is possible if the yoga session includes sun salutations of about 10 minutes or more. Sun salutations are poses, done in sequence, to enhance the flow of movement. They are often used as warm-up sequences in yoga.

OTHER BENEFITS

Through yoga, in totality does not improve fitness, it provides other benefits necessary for an individual’s well being. Some of these benefits are discussed below.

  • Anti-inflammatory effect.

A major observation during the first study was the fact that yoga had anti-inflammatory effects on the participants. It suppresses chronic inflammation, which is a major cause of age-related diseases. Yoga lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers in individuals due to the reduced inflammation.

  • Strength benefits

Poses, done as warm-up sequences to enhance the flow of movement (Sun Salutations), may offer strength benefits. A study was conducted of men and women involved in 24 cycles of sun salutations for 6 days per week for 24 weeks. The results showed that there was a significant improvement in the upper-body strength and endurance of both the men and women. Also, the body fat percentage of female subjects decreased.

  • Balance, mobility and flexibility benefits.

It is proven that yoga promotes balance and mobility in older adults.

THE BOTTOM LINE

It needs to be said that, no form of exercise provides all the needed effects. In the long run, yoga can be a good workout, but individuals should not depend on it for the improvement of fitness and strength. Therefore, yoga is best done in conjunction with other workout routines.

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