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Sunday 29th of May 2022

For yoga and fitness


What are the differences between fitness training and yoga

When it comes to maintaining good physical shape, fitness training and group activities are certainly among the most preferred ways to do this. Usually people think that in order to achieve the set goals it is enough to stop at only one type of activity – training in a fitness club, dancing, yoga, Pilates, etc. But combining fitness with another type of exercise such as yoga, for example, improves stability, endurance, flexibility and even muscle shape.

What are the differences between these two types of activities, for whom they are suitable, how they complement each other and how it is best to combine them, we will discuss in this article.

What are the differences between fitness training and yoga?

Main goal

Usually, achieving better physical health, weight loss, shaping a tight body and relief and developing athleticism are among the main goals of fitness training, as well as the reasons why people choose to practice this sport.

Improving physical and health is part of the main goals of yoga. However, its highest goal is self-knowledge and the creation of harmony between body and mind. This is achieved through:

* performing yoga poses (asanas)

* proper breathing (pranayama)

* appropriate gestures (mudra)

* cleansing techniques (shatkarma), including purification of emotional blockages in the energy centers of man (chakras)

Other points of support for yoga are proper diet and positive thinking.

Nature of movements

Yoga focuses mainly on stable postures (asanas) and muscle relaxation. The movements are slow and the breathing is synchronized. In comparison, fitness training emphasizes fast movements and muscle tension. Exercises usually involve repetitive movements without synchronizing breathing. As a result, the effects of the two types of activities also differ.

Stimulated parts of the nervous system

Exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for reducing the activity of the digestive system, speeding up breathing and heart rate. As a result, exercise causes a feeling of fatigue. In addition to the physical, the sympathetic nervous system is also a source of emotional stress.

Yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, whose action is the complete opposite of the sympathetic. It is responsible for increasing the activity of the digestive system, lowering blood pressure and slowing the heart rate. In other words, practicing yoga contributes to a sense of relaxation.

Oxygen consumption

During exercise, especially cardio, oxygen consumption increases. One of the main focuses of yoga is the application of proper breathing techniques, and this leads to reduced oxygen consumption.

Calorie expenditure

The nature of most exercise leads to moderate or high calorie expenditure. This is the main reason for the increased feeling of hunger after training. Unlike exercise, yoga sessions consume fewer calories. For this reason, yogis usually consume smaller amounts of food than people who do fitness.

Energy consumption / storage

Exercise is a catabolic process characterized by a destructive metabolism (the process of breaking down carbohydrates and fats in the body to release energy). In other words, exercise consumes energy

Yoga is an anabolic process that is characterized by constructive metabolism (building new cells and maintaining tissues). In other words, yoga stores energy.

Ability to shape muscles 

As we all know, one of the effects of fitness training is the formation of muscles and the acquisition of relief. This happens with the help of strength training, which must be consistent with a proper diet.

Yoga alone does not focus on building muscle. However, it has been proven that practicing it can also shape the muscles in the body. But since you are only limited to “lifting” your own weight, it will probably take longer than lifting weights.

Risk of injury

The risk of injuries in the gym is limited, but not small, as most exercises put a lot of strain on muscles and tendons. In yoga, the risk of injury is minimal, as the poses do not have much effect on the muscles and tendons.

Age and health restrictions

Most fitness exercises can only be performed by people in good health. In addition, a large percentage of exercises are not suitable for people over a certain age.

There are no age restrictions for yoga and most yoga poses can be practiced regardless of a person’s health. However, some postures should be avoided in diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, etc ..

Effect on joints

Most exercise tends to overload the joints, and this can lead to stiffness or rheumatism at a later age. In contrast, yoga has no adverse effects on bones.

Can we combine yoga and exercise in one workout?

Some people use yoga poses to warm up and warm up before and after a workout. Others combine them in one day. But can they be held consistently?

It is desirable to practice yoga after fitness training or on a different day. The main reason for this is that after the yoga session the muscles and tissues weaken, especially if it involves deep stretching and holding in one position for a long time. After stretching, the muscle fibers lengthen (stretch) and as a result, their ability to contract decreases, and the process of returning them to normal takes several hours.

If you exercise and go to the gym often, but at the same time you like to practice yoga or it is on the list of things you want to try, there are several ways you can combine them.

If you want your yoga sessions to be as effective as possible, practice them on days other than training, and finish your fitness training with light stretching poses instead of a full dynamic yoga session. This is the best option.

In this way, the muscles will have enough time to recover from the workout before you load them again with deep stretching. Conversely, after stretching, they will have enough time to regain their normal shape so that they can contract effectively.

If you do not have enough time, practice yoga after a workout, but be careful not to overload your already tired muscles.

In case you need to include a yoga session before your workout, try to have an interval of several hours between the two. In addition, your workout should start slowly and the load should increase gradually to give the muscles time to warm up.

Who are they suitable for?

If you are wondering which of the two activities is more suitable for you, you should first ask yourself what exactly you need at the moment and take into account factors such as age, level of fitness, desired goals, etc. Usually younger and athletic people, who only want to improve their physical condition, prefer fitness training. Older people, postpartum women, middle-aged people, as well as anyone who aims to relieve stress, prefer yoga sessions.

For people who work in an office all day, it is recommended to practice both types of activities. Low physical and high mental activity can lead to various problems. Going to the gym helps physical health and burn calories in a short time, and yoga and meditation help mental health.


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