Is yoga really enough to keep you fit?

2013Jan10_YogaGeneral_AYou might learn how to bend and stretch your body in ways that you never thought possible, and build core strength but does yoga actually keep you fit? In some fitness circles the jury is definitely still out but this really depends on how you define fitness. What is true is that yoga’s appeal as a way of exercising is growing. While scientists debate, the anecdotal evidence is found in the popularity of the postures and the wellbeing benefits they promise.

It’s true to say that if you were training for a marathon or really trying to shed excess baggage you might find that yoga alone is not enough. However, for many people, flexibility, toned muscles and greater strength and stamina count for a lot when it comes to feeling fitter. Is this officially a true measure of fitness in the strictest sense though?

Not a catch-all practice
What can be said is that yoga is a catch-all term but not a catch-all practice. While some yoga sessions really work up a cardio sweat, some cool the jets with meditative calm and heart calming tranquility rather than heart pumping action. You might want to find out how strenuous a class is, not just in terms of postures but also in terms of keeping up with the different moves. It’s worth finding out the difference between Hatha, Ashtanga, Bikram and Power yoga so you know what to expect.

What the research says?
You can find studies to suggest that yoga does not involve a cardiovascular workout. However, other studies purport that VO2max levels improve with certain type of yoga. This gauge of the amount of oxygen consumed at your highest level of activity is viewed as a true test of fitness. Despite the inconsistencies, the benefits of yoga are widely spread and much depends on what you want to achieve.

Wellbeing and fitness goals
The benefits of yoga are widely known and if you have certain fitness goals in mind you might find it useful to chat directly with a yoga teacher on what a specific practice can offer. There are many yoga fans who value the holistic benefits of yoga, in improving functionality, and the mind-body connection that it can inspire. This overall workout might well be more beneficial than one type of exercise that isn’t necessarily targeting your body in the right way. The wellbeing effects of yoga can be far reaching.

Yoga isn’t exclusive
There’s nothing to say that you cannot transform your wellbeing with yoga as well as concentrate on other activities which focus more directly on cardio work. Many athletes workout and use yoga as an essential part of their routine. Yoga does not have to be a standalone practice and yet many practitioners swear by it being enough to improve fitness levels. Yoga is not mutually exclusive to other types of exercise.

Find out more about what yoga can offer you and how it can fit in with a fitness and wellbeing strategy for you.

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