What Are The Differences Between Yoga And Aerobic Exercises?

Discover if you want a heart-pounding workout or an all-round healthy lifestyle.

By Shirin Mehdi

Many people wonder if it is better to do aerobics or yoga. If you are having a hard time deciding what you should do, don’t worry. We have got your back. First, it is crucial to understand the differences between yoga and aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercise entails boosting oxygen consumption in order to stimulate the body’s metabolism. These exercises push the heart and lungs hard for minutes, strengthening them. It also has cardiovascular advantages. Yoga is the unification of the body and the mind. Yogasanas, meditation, and pranayama are all combined in this practice. It is more than simply a workout; it is a way of life. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between these two forms of exercises!

Aerobic Exercises:

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Aerobic exercise is also known as cardio exercise. The dictionary meaning of ‘aerobic’ is ‘relating to or utilizing oxygen’. These exercises involve, utilize, or increase oxygen consumption to stimulate the metabolism process in the body. These exercises strengthen heart and lungs by making them work hard for several minutes or more. Aerobic exercises help the person to lose fat. It also provides cardiovascular benefits.

These exercises help burn many calories. Regular practice of aerobics is good for both the heart and lungs. It also improves endurance. Further, aerobics improves the cognitive capacity of a person to some extent. Aerobic exercise also works as an amazing stress-buster. Some of the examples of good aerobics exercises are running, cycling, swimming, rowing, cross-training etc.


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Yoga means union of body and mind. Most people think that yoga is just about practicing a few asanas. But asanas are the most superficial aspect of yoga. Yoga is a combination of yogasanas, pranayama, and meditation. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that yoga is not just a workout but actually is a lifestyle.

Yoga helps in weight loss to an extent but the main benefit of yoga is that it makes the body more flexible and gives lean muscles. Yoga does not burn as many as calories as aerobics. Yoga is good for strength training as most of the asanas are bodyweight poses. It forces the muscles to adapt and control, thus strengthening them. Yoga regulates the breathing process. This does not have much effect on the heart but is beneficial for strengthening the respiratory system.

Most of the benefits of yoga are internal, as it is a therapeutic activity. Meditation helps in relieving stress, anxiety, and tension. Yoga and meditation cure many illnesses like blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, etc., and help in enhancing memory and cognitive function. Yoga strengthens the muscles, bones and ligaments.

Comparison between Yoga and Aerobics:

On comparing the two styles of exercising, we find marked similarities and differences. If your goal is to lose fat, then aerobics is not your style of exercise. Yoga does not burn as many calories as aerobics does. On the other hand, you need yoga to build lean muscle mass, which is not something you can do with aerobic exercises.

While aerobics is important to strengthen your heart and lungs, yoga is necessary to control and regulate breath, which is related to prana flow. Aerobics puts pressure on your joints and can increase the risk of joint injuries. On the other hand, yoga strengthens the bones and joints. Yoga improves the immunity power of the body while aerobics boosts metabolism.

What Should You Do?

The right answer would be to include both aerobics and yoga in your routine as both offer benefits to make your body healthy and strong. But if you are suffering from any joint-related problem, avoid aerobics and lean more towards yoga. Similarly, if your goal is to lose weight, you should do more aerobics. Otherwise, the ideal workout routine would be one, which has both yoga and aerobics in it.

There are quite a few differences between yoga and aerobic exercises. Although they both help improve your health, they work differently. If you are confused about which one to go with, first figure out your fitness goal. If you want to burn fat, go for aerobic exercises, which increase oxygen uptake and kick start metabolism. On the other hand, opt for yoga if you aim for lean muscle mass. Also, yoga is good for those with knee/joint issues, while aerobic exercises are not. If your health permits, it is ideal to include both forms in your exercise routine for the all-round development of your health. Consult a fitness expert if you want to pick only one of these. They may help you choose what is better for you depending on your health condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I do yoga before or after aerobic exercise?

It is better to do yoga after aerobic exercise. But if you need to do yoga before aerobic exercise, ensure you do it a couple of hours prior.

Can you get a cardio workout with yoga?

Yes. Certain forms of yoga, like the Vinyasa yoga, can be considered cardio. Practicing this yoga form 3-5 times a week can help improve your overall fitness.

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A jack of many trades and a master of some, Shirin is a writer, a fashion designer, and a chef... more