How To Use Cardio and Yoga To Take Your Fitness To The Next Level

When your main goal is losing weight and getting your fitness to the next level, one type of exercise won’t cut it. Some people believe that the key to weight loss lies only in lifting weights, or strictly focusing on cardio. The truth is that a combination of cardio and yoga or other strength training paired with a healthier diet is key.

In this article, we will:

  • Debunk myths about cardio and yoga
  • Go over the benefits of cardio and yoga
  • Teach you how you can utilize cardio and yoga together
  • Discuss types of cardio workouts
  • Learn what “cardio yoga” is and who it may be beneficial for
  • See tips on dieting and how to lose weight

Debunking Myths About Cardio

There are plenty of myths that circulate when it comes to fitness and it’s important to dismantle those misconceptions. For example, while cardio certainly has its benefits such as improving your lung capacity, lowering your blood pressure, and improving your sleep, it won’t help you with dramatic weight loss results. That being said, it can help aid with weight loss when paired with dietary changes and a focus on building muscle. 

Male Yoga Instructor Shows Wide Legged Forward Fold with Twist Pose

Another myth is that when you do your preferred cardio workout, you don’t need to focus on those muscle groups in other ways. While it’s true that you are working out your muscles through cardio, it doesn’t mean that you’re building enough muscle during those workouts. Cardio workouts like running may work your legs, but it won’t replace strength training exercises.

Debunking Myths About Yoga

Similarly, there are misconceptions and myths when it comes to yoga. A popular myth is that yoga isn’t challenging and that it’s simply stretching. While yoga does involve stretching, there’s so much more to it. When you’re participating in yoga, you’re working out many different muscle groups, including your core. Yoga builds muscular awareness and strength that translates into your other workouts. If you’re new to doing regular cardio, power yoga can be a great option for you. Otherwise if you have great cardiovascular health, you should do cardio on top of your regular yoga routine.

Male Yoga Instructor Posing in Side Plank with Leg Raised

Another myth is that yoga is religious in nature and is mainly for women. Yoga can be practiced by anyone, man or woman, and can do great things for a person’s fitness. When it comes to religion, yoga does not have to be spiritual. It’s important to note that at some studios or during some classes, you may see some elements of spirituality. However, this is not true for all classes and at Man Flow Yoga, all workouts are strictly based in fitness. There are many different types of yoga you can practice and different poses you would do depending on where in your workout you are. Yoga itself is best done both slowly and mindfully to get the best results. 

The Benefits of Cardio and Yoga

Cardio and yoga both have significant benefits that can boost your fitness and overall health. Cardio is done through elevating your heart rate during exercise. Regularly working on your cardio fitness can strengthen your heart and make it easier for it to pump blood. This is important for your overall heart health as it can reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes. It can also improve your workout efficiency. 

Cardio exercises improve your lung capacity, give you more energy and even help improve yoursleep. While you may be tired if you’re just starting to do cardio exercises regularly, in the long term you will have more stamina. Additionally, cardio is an important component to curbing weight gain and can help you lose weight. By doing high intensity exercises, you will burn more calories than those activities that are lower intensity. When you burn more calories and eat in a caloric deficit, you will start to lose weight.

That being said, you want to ensure that cardio isn’t your only focus. The most significant part of your weight loss effort needs to be rooted in lifestyle change, not just adding cardio into your workout routine.

Male yoga instructor holds locust pose on mat

Yoga is a great thing to incorporate into your fitness routine if you haven’t already. Yoga is a great strength training exercise that can also tone your muscles. By building strength and flexibility, yoga can protect you from certain ailments as you age. You can improve your balance and your posture which can help with back pain and reduce your chance of falling. When it comes to fitness, yoga can also help decrease your risk of injury. Yoga has numerous benefits and while it’s a great workout on its own, it is even better for your overall fitness when it’s part of your routine with cardio or additional strength training exercises.  

Weight loss is going to happen when you improve your body composition through appropriate exercise by building muscle, reducing your caloric intake by building healthy eating practices, sleeping better, and managing your overall stress.

Utilizing Cardio and Yoga Together

When it comes to working out, it’s best to have a routine that is balanced. Pairing cardio and yoga together within your routine will get you closer to where you want to be with your fitness and weight loss goals. In fact, yoga when paired with any other type of workout will likely help you get better at those workouts. Adding yoga onto your cardio workout doesn’t have to be difficult. Yoga can be a warm up or a cool-down exercise or you can have both in one exercise called power yoga. Power yoga is fast paced and focuses more on flow from one pose to another. Due to rapid movements, your heart rate will increase and you will get the cardio benefits.

Male yoga instructor demonstrates cossack squat pose

If you’re looking to do yoga as a warm-up to your cardio exercise, you want to ensure that it’s mainly strength focused. It’s important to activate your muscles and warm them up. Some of these poses include the cat cow pose, bird dog pose, and plank pose. As a cool-down, you want to ensure your yoga poses are more restorative and yin focused in nature. Yin yoga allows you to hold poses for longer periods of time and helps bring your heart rate back down gradually. This is important to help with recovery and avoid muscle cramping. Some yin poses you can do include a wide legged forward fold, a reclined quad stretch, and pigeon pose.

When you’re pressed for time, it’s difficult to get both a cardio and yoga workout in. Instead of rushing through your workout to fit both in, try doing a stand alone yoga workout at the opposing time of day as your cardio workout. For instance, if you go running in the morning, do yoga in the evening or vice versa.

Types of Cardio Workouts

Doing the same cardio workout routine day after day can get old fast. Even if you really enjoy a specific cardio exercise and do it everyday, you will get better at the skill, but your body will also adapt and you’ll need to do more to keep it challenging physically. If you’re only going on a run or stepping on the elliptical for your cardio exercise, you can be missing out on so many other opportunities to get your cardio workout in. Especially if you’re not someone who enjoys those cardio exercises, you may want to look into other ways you can get your cardio in that you actually look forward to doing. 

Cardio can be any type of workout that increases your heart rate and challenges you. Here are a few suggestions that you may enjoy.

  • Swimming or water aerobics
  • Stairmaster or taking the stairs
  • Brisk walking 
  • Riding a bike
  • Hiking 
  • Kayaking
  • Kickboxing
  • Golfing
  • Rowing
  • Dancing
  • Cardio Yoga 

What is Cardio Yoga and How is it Beneficial

Cardio yoga is a more muscle engaging and challenging type of yoga. It’s done at a quicker pace, has a continuous flow of movement, and is a great workout for your cardiovascular system. 

There are many benefits to choosing cardio yoga as your preferred cardio exercise. It’s not only a great way to help you improve your sleep, boost your mental health and relieve stress, it is also a spectacular exercise for anyone who may be overweight or out of shape as it causes less strain on your joints than other types of cardio exercises. It’s important to keep in mind your joint health when it comes to working out. Damaging or straining your joints can lead to pain, especially when moving. 

As a beginner to cardio yoga, you want to ensure that you know the proper techniques that go with each move or pose. Starting slow is key to ensure you’re doing the move properly. Failing to do the move correctly can do more harm than good. Once you’re certain that you have a pose down and build confidence with your yoga practice, then you can start to increase your speed. If you’re just starting to work on your cardiovascular fitness, it’s possible a basic yoga flow could be all the cardio challenge you need.

It’s important to understand how your body feels and go for workouts that push you. Keep in mind you want a challenge, but not so hard to the point where your form suffers. Working out too hard causes burnout and can lead to injury. Get started with a good routine by finding videos in the Man Flow Yoga app members’ area. Additionally, you can follow along with some free videos on YouTube.

Losing weight with Cardio and Yoga

If losing weight is your goal, having a combined workout routine of cardio and yoga could be a great start. Doing just one or the other won’t get you to where you want to be. While cardio alone is important to your health and can aid in weight loss, it shouldn’t be your main focus. If weight loss is your overall goal, it’s important to build muscle. One way to build muscle and tone is by practicing yoga. Overall lifestyle changes are key for weight loss. While working out through cardio and yoga will help, if you’re continuing to eat unhealthy, not drink enough water, and get barely any sleep – you’re not going to get the results you desire.

Short-term focuses like fad diets or only working out before an event is not going to give you long-term results. The key to being able to lose weight lies in both commitment to healthier habits and consistency. 

Male Yoga Instructor demonstrated pigeon pose on mat

If you’re starting out with healthy eating, you may want to start with simplifying your diet. This can look like having a few go-to healthy standbys that make up a bulk of what you eat. Eating unhealthy foods or splurging on dessert is okay in moderation. This can also look like replacing sugary drinks with soda or getting more restful sleep. However you make it work, you want to ensure that what you decide to do is realistic. Setting unrealistic goals for yourself will only lead to resetting you back to where you started.

At the end of the day, taking your health and fitness to the next level requires lasting lifestyle changes. This includes incorporating both cardio and yoga into your workout routine, eating healthy, and getting restful sleep.

Join our FREE 7-day Beginner’s Yoga for Men Challenge! This yoga challenge is perfect for men that want to try yoga but have no previous experience or have limited flexibility. Get noticeable results that will help you feel better and get stronger.

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