Physical fitness is necessary for your overall health and well-being. It helps you perform your daily chores, job responsibilities, sports, and leisure activities efficiently. Additionally, it also helps relax your mind for better moods and optimal mental functioning and also brings down your risks for various diseases.
Most of us either opt for gym workouts or practice yoga for achieving optimal physical fitness, as both help us stay fit and healthy. However, both have different benefits and it all depends on what each one of us is seeking to achieve from our own physical fitness routine. Hence our exercise preference is usually influenced by our diverse fitness needs and goals.
Yoga Vs Gym For Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, going to a gym will give you better and faster results than practicing yoga.
What Is Weight Loss?
Weight loss is achieved when the caloric consumption is less than the caloric expenditure. One pound of body weight equals approximately 3,500 calories.1 You can burn calories while engaging in everyday chores and activities like gardening, doing the laundry, grocery shopping, or walking the dog. In order to lose weight more quickly, you need to burn more calories within each 24-hour period and yoga is not the most effective way to do that.
Why Yoga Doesn’t Work For Weight Loss
Yoga demands much slower movement than many other types of exercise. Hence, it doesn’t raise your heart rate enough to qualify as consistent cardiovascular exercise. Yoga is therefore considered to be a good way to control your weight, but not necessarily lose it. Even if it does lead to weight loss, results can only be seen when practiced over a longer period of time. The more intense aerobic nature of power yoga may help you lose the extra pounds faster than regular yoga, but it still doesn’t beat the intensity and effectiveness of a gym workout.
Why Gymming Works Better For Weight Loss
At the gym, quick weight loss is aided by vigorous aerobic activity, such as walking on the treadmill which burns up calories, and resistance training which builds muscle mass.
Doing a disciplined gym routine every day is the best way to burn calories at a faster pace, and you can even select from a wide range of activities to help achieve your goal quicker.
Yoga Vs Gym For Overall Wellness
If you are not too particular about losing weight quickly but still need a fitness regime, here are a few reasons why you may want to choose yoga over the gym.
1. Mind Over Waistline
While yoga is not as effective as compared to a gym workout when it comes to burning calories and losing weight, it can definitely help you make a better connection with your mind and body. Yoga increases your level of self-awareness and regular practice can surprisingly improve your connection, not only with your activity but also with your energy consumption and stress levels. Successful weight loss occurs when you are able to make better choices that will help you find the right balance between nutrition and activity. Yoga could be a positive step toward getting you prepped for more activity than you’re currently used to and help make the transition to an active lifestyle much more smooth.
2. Anyone Can Practice Yoga
A gym workout is not designed for everyone. It requires a high level of desire to want to look and feel better, faster, and plenty of adrenalin to go through with those intense workouts day after day. It is not possible to start training at a gym overnight, neither is it possible for elderly people, growing teenagers, and pregnant women to go for a vigorous gymming session, even though they need to stay fit too.
In this case, yoga is a better bet. No matter what the age or health condition may be, anyone can practice yoga. It is senior-friendly and has been found to do wonders for women in their pregnancy stages. Even people suffering from various ailments ranging from cancer to Parkinson’s disease have been found to benefit from yoga.2
3. Yoga Can Tone Your Body
A gym workout is focused only on strengthening muscles and boosting your stamina, but yoga can benefit your entire body— both externally and internally. A yoga session involves a lot of stretching, twisting, and folding, which not only helps tone your body, but is also very good for the digestive system, the lymph system, the circulatory system, and other internal parts of your body. Furthermore, it is a great way to detox yourself and can do a wonderful job of stimulating more blood circulation.
4. Yoga Teaches Acceptance
There is a reason why hitting the gym isn’t for anyone and everyone. Gym classes, especially the strict boot camp style classes, are designed in such a way that you feel like a failure if you can’t do everything. This, in turn, acts as a boost to push yourself for more. This can backfire, especially if you’re someone who isn’t too happy about yourself or your body and can result in you giving up on staying fit altogether.
Yoga, however, is built on self-acceptance, not self-improvement. It makes you focus on accepting your body the way it is and helps you love all of yourself, along with your strengths and your weaknesses, your flabs and your abs. This is one one of the reasons why yoga is so therapeutic – because it helps infuse your mind and body with positive vibes which make you much happier in the long run.
5. Yoga Teaches You To Focus On Yourself
Ever wondered why gym classes have so many mirrors? This is so that you can see yourself working out, and feel good about sweating yourself out. It makes the daily result more tangible and you feel like all the effort is really worth it. There are also people, however, who look at other people working out and worry that they aren’t doing as well.
Many yoga studios, on the other hand, don’t even have any mirrors. Yoga believes that outside distractions should be tuned out. This is so that you are forced to be more mindful of where your body is and what each muscle, limb, and breath is doing. You can see the benefits of this practice even outside the yoga studio while doing your chores, as you will find your concentration and memory power improving every day!
6. Yoga Is More Efficient
Gym classes use specific weights and equipment for each set of muscles, which means muscles are isolated and individual sets have to be worked for optimum benefit, which takes up a whole lot more time and energy.
Yoga, on the other hand, uses a combination of asanas that makes you rely on your own body for strengthening by using it as a weight by itself. This helps your body become evenly toned and simultaneously makes every muscle stronger.
7. Yoga Is More Calming And Can Cure Stress
Gym workouts are designed to be competitive by nature. This, along with loud upbeat music, bright lights and television screens may make you feel more energized, but may not necessarily help to calm your nerves down at the end of a long day.
In a yoga session, however, you move through practice while holding a calm and relaxed state of body and mind. There is no groaning or grunting, no dropping weights, no need for clenching your teeth or grimacing while you exercise.
Instead, yoga includes breathing exercises and meditation, which train you to clear your mind of daily stress. During trying times, it’s very easy to forget to breathe — and by this, we don’t mean just shallow breathing but deep, meaningful inhaling and exhaling that helps calm our senses. Without deep breathing, it gets easier for fatigue to set in, which makes it all the more difficult for the mind to think clearly. Yoga makes you focus on your breathing so that when you need to calm down the most, deep breathing will come to you naturally.
With practice, it can get easier to deal with everyday stressful situations, which can consequently bring down your overall stress levels.
8. Yoga Is Kinder To Your Body
We’re not saying that yoga is not intense. Forms of yoga like power yoga can make you break into a sweat within minutes of starting your session. Yoga builds heat gradually and steadily works your muscles, but you’re only doing what your body lets you do, instead of forcing your limbs to lift additional weights — both can either suddenly, or eventually lead to injury. Yoga makes you stretch yourself in various directions as you move through multiple postures and a good yoga practice is always designed to build on itself so that it prepares your body for the next position.
9. Yoga Eases Your Aches
Weights and treadmill can cause excess strain on your body which can lead to soreness and may sometimes even lead to injuries. Yoga, on the other hand, slowly and steadily stretches your muscles and opens up the various energy channels in your body. This brings about increased body flexibility and keeps your muscles and joints well lubricated and healthy.
10. Yoga Can Be Done Anywhere And Is Pocket-Friendly
Gym workouts are usually confined only to the gym. The more the space and the wider the range of equipment, the more fun your gym experience is. This also means you have to shell out money for your monthly membership, which can add up to a lot at the end of the year, depending on what gym you go to and what kind of training you opt for.
Although yoga can be a different experience when practiced in a yoga studio, you can still easily practice yoga at home or in any outdoor area. You only need about 6 feet by 4 feet of space, a mat, and maybe a few scented candles for some ambiance to recreate your own yoga studio with no cost at all!
If you are currently not in the habit of exercising at all, yoga is a safe place to start. The high- intensity or high-impact forms of exercise advocated by gym trainers might not be appropriate – or appealing enough to stick with for a long time. It would be foolish to assume, however, that yoga in all its forms will be easy just because they are lower intensity as compared to aerobic exercises or resistance training. Yoga comes with its own forms that can be equally challenging and could potentially also come with its own risks. For instance, power yoga is nonstop and aerobic in nature, and hot yoga conditions are very challenging for the body and require a decent period of adjustment.
Experiment with various styles of yoga to determine which one serves your purpose more and you will have a good fitness regime that you can not only stick with but also makes you feel great about yourself!