Will Doing Yoga Alone Make Me Fit?
I’m a 27-year-old male, about 50 pounds overweight. I love yoga and I know it’s good for you in combination with other exercises. But will yoga by itself make me fit and toned or do I need something that’s faster paced?
First of all, it’s great that you have found an activity that you love—you’re on the right track. Keep in mind that “yoga” is a very general term, within “yoga” are many forms of yoga, some of which are more challenging than others. Like any form of exercise, there are also many “levels” of yoga — from beginning to advanced. For instance, “flow yoga” incorporates some cardiovascular activity to help you increase your heart rate. Bikram is another very challenging form of yoga which takes place in a heated room, often wearing very little or (in some cases) no clothing. Many local fitness centers are now offering “fusion” classes which “fuse” different types of yoga, or different exercises, together.
A study published in October 2005 by the American Council on Exercise found that yoga by itself is not enough of a cardiovascular exercise for the vast majority of participants. In other words, it did not help them burn enough calories to help them lose or maintain their weight.
Yoga is a wonderful place to start if you’re looking to increase your flexibility and also strengthen your muscles, but whether you’ll need additional cardiovascular exercise will greatly depend on the type of yoga class you choose and how much you’re able to safely exert yourself in these classes.