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Yoga vs Running: Which Really Is Better for You?

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I’ve been asked the questions, “Do I have to run or exercise intensely to get a good workout? Can’t I just do yoga?” Unfortunately (or fortunately), the answers to these questions, respectively are yes … and yes.

Different exercise types have different purposes and different benefits. And each of our bodies, to remain fit, requires our training it in different ways. One type of exercise may not accomplish all goals of being physically fit: a healthy heart, strong muscles and bones, and safety from injury. As a result, it is important to do enough types of exercise to reap all the physical benefits mentioned above. Not sure what exercises to do for which of these goals? Here is a quick cheat sheet.  


Aerobic Exercise: To have a strong and healthy heart, one that is warded against heart disease, you need to do aerobic exercise. This means that you need to exert yourself enough so that your heart rate, while exercising, is 65 percent to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. If you don’t get your heart rate up within this level—you just ain’t working hard enough. I don’t care what you do. It could be running, it could be swimming, it could be dancing, it even could be having sex. Whatever it is, your heart rate needs to be 65 percent to 85 percent of your MHR for 20 to 30 minutes, at least 3 times a week, to see the heart healthy benefits. Typical types include:


  • Running
  • Walking (at least 4 to 4.5 mph)
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Elliptical Training
  • Yoga (Ashtanga, Power, and Vinyasa)


Strength Training: To keep your muscles and bones strong, warding off arthritis and osteoporosis, you need to do strength training. This comes in a variety of formats. Whatever you do, however, you need to train your muscles enough so that they are really tired by the end of each session. To see real benefits, make sure you are strength training 2 to 3 times a week for about 30 to 40 minutes. Typical types of strength training include:


  • Weight Training
  • Yoga/Pilates
  • Resistance Training
  • Plyometrics


Flexibility Training: To keep your body flexible and limber, reducing risk of injuries and pain in your joints and muscles, you need to do flexibility training. Translation—stretching. You should always aim to stretch every muscle after any exercise routine. Typical types of flexibility training include:


  • Stretching
  • Yoga
  • Pilates


So next time you think that yoga 5 times a week will be enough, think about what it is really doing. Is it getting your heart rate up? If not, you should be doing more aerobic training to strengthen your heart. Additionally, running your heart out every day is great for heart health, but are you keeping your muscles limber? If not, start incorporating some stretching in! And lastly, if you are a dumbbell god/goddess, are you incorporating enough cardio and stretching in to round out your workout? 


Have you found a good workout that tackles two or three of these goals?

Originally published on SheerBalance

Updated on August 6, 2010
 

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