What Are The Differences Between Yoga And Aerobic Exercises?

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

Reviewed by Patrick FrancoPatrick Franco, Yoga Teacher
By Shirin MehdiShirin 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.i  XThe process by which the body produces a set of life-sustaining chemical reactions that help convert food into energy. These exercises push the heart and lungs hard for minutes, strengthening them. It also has cardiovasculari  XDiseases of the heart and blood vessels that are often caused due to raised blood pressure, high lipid levels, and an unhealthy diet. advantages. Yoga is the unification of the body and the mind. Yogasanas, meditation, and pranayamai  XThe yogic practice of regulating one’s breathing by and focusing on it. In Sanskrit, “prana” means life, and “yama” means control. 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 the 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 examples of good aerobics exercises are running, cycling, swimming, rowing, cross-training etc.

StyleCraze Says
Aerobic refers to exercises that promote higher oxygen intake whereas cardio refers to exercises that promote higher heart rate. However, the terms are used interchangeably as an increase in heart rate increases oxygen intake, and vice-versa.


Image: Shutterstock

Yoga means union of body and mind. The state of yoga is when the mind gets quiet when practicing asanas (poses), pranayama (breathing practices), and meditation. This is how we move towards a state of yoga. Most people think that yoga is just about practicing a few asanas. But asanas are the most superficial aspect of yoga; they are just the entry point for many of us to begin our journey towards a more calm and quiet mental state. You progress with the physical body by practicing asana first, then with your breath by practicing pranayama, and lastly, with your mind through meditation. When you look at this journey towards self-improvement, you realize that the workout (the asanas) is just the first step, but there are many more steps along the path. This is why as you progress in your practice, you realize yoga is more than a workout; it is a lifestyle.

Yoga helps in weight loss to an extent, but the main benefit of practicing asana is a stronger, more flexible body. Most importantly, it gives us a sense of body awareness which helps us make better decisions that could potentially lead to weight loss. 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. Although practicing yoga may not increase your heart rate and respiratory rate as much as aerobic exercises, it still benefits both systems greatly. Many people now practice both in conjunction with each other to reap the benefits of both.

Most of the benefits of yoga are internal, as it is a therapeutic activity. The longer you practice, the better your physical and mental states benefit.  Meditation helps in relieving stress, anxiety, and tension. Yoga and meditation cure many illnesses like blood pressure, diabetes, arthritisi  XA common disorder that causes inflammation and swelling of one or more joints which deteriorates with age. , etc., and help in enhancing memory and cognitive function. Yoga strengthens the muscles, bones and ligaments.

Comparison between Yoga and Aerobics:

Woman with yoga mat and dumbells


On comparing the two styles of exercising, we find marked similarities and differences. If your goal is to lose fat, then yoga is not your style of exercise. Practicing yoga does not focus on burning calories like aerobics does. On the other hand, yoga does have many physical benefits in addition to helping improve your mental state.

While aerobics is important to strengthen your heart and lungs, yoga is necessary to help alleviate the anxiety and stress of everyday life. Aerobics consists of dynamic movements and can increase the impact on your joints. Yoga, on the other hand, can keep your muscles and joints more pliable. Yoga improves the immunity power of the body while aerobics boosts metabolism.

StyleCraze Says
You can perform low impact cardio or aerobic exercises if you want to avoid straining your joints. Alternatively, you can perform high intensity yoga flows like the vinyasai  XAn approach to yoga in which you move from one pose to another seamlessly, maintaining a link between movement and breathing. to ramp up calorie-burning.

What Should You Do?

Young couple practicing yoga in the gym after workout


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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