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Yoga vs. Cardio: Which One Burns More Fat

Trying to get rid of extra fat can be a challenge that requires both exercise and overall lifestyle changes to accomplish. Moving your body, whether that’s through yoga or doing cardio exercises is a great way to kick start losing weight.  In the debate of yoga vs. cardio, one is better for creating a great foundation, and one is better for burning more calories per workout. Read more to learn which exercise ultimately wins out in the end. 

In this article, we will:

  • Talk about how to burn fat
  • Discuss yoga vs. cardio
  • Learn why you should do yoga for weight loss
  • Answer if yoga can be cardio

How Burning Fat Works

Our bodies are meant to have fat to both protect our organs and use it as fuel to give us energy. It only becomes a problem when we have excessive amounts of it, which can ultimately lead to negative health consequences. 

Male yoga instructor demonstrates airplane pose on yoga matTo put it simply, in order to lose weight and burn fat, your body needs to be burning through more calories than you’re consuming.  Your body’s metabolism can be slowed or boosted depending on your lifestyle. Boosting your metabolism will help your body burn through more calories naturally without having to burn more calories through exercise. 

One easy way to boost your body’s metabolism is by exercising regularly and making healthier decisions on a day to day basis. This includes drinking more water, getting enough sleep and eating meals with higher amounts of protein, vegetables and healthy fats


Yoga vs. Cardio: Which Burns More Fat

We established that in general, ensuring that you’re burning through more calories than you consume is the best (the only) way to lose weight and ultimately burn more fat. This happens when you exercise regularly and when your metabolism is boosted. When it comes to figuring out which exercise will be better for you in the end, both yoga and cardio have their strong points and can benefit you.

Male yoga instructor demonstrated thoracic twist lunge using blocksIf you were to compare side by side, one workout – yoga vs. cardio –  the cardio workout will burn  more calories than your yoga workout. However, it’s important to note that if all you do is cardio workouts, you might only lose a few pounds, if anything at all. Sure, you may burn more calories per workout – but when this happens, you’ll naturally want to consume more food, and may have limited willpower to prevent that from occurring. This means you may ultimately gain weight or plateau instead of getting closer to your goals.

For burning fat and keeping it off, you don’t want to just focus on the amount of calories burned in one workout – you want to focus on how to sustain long term weight loss. A lot of this may come down to mindset and overall mindfulness. 

Yoga is a great way to not only get your workout in, but improve your mindfulness. You will reduce your stress and become more aware of your choices. Yoga can also help you build and tone your muscles. This will help you with fat loss, as muscle tissue burns through calories more efficiently than fat tissue.

Overall, yoga will be WAY more effective for weight loss than cardio. If you love doing cardio exercises, combining cardio in conjunction with yoga can be a great way to start moving in the right direction. 

Why You Should Do Yoga For Weight Loss

Actively participating in yoga and making it part of your workout routine will give you a solid foundation of fitness and help you in other areas of your life. Practicing yoga at least three times per week will help you to start building this foundation. Here are a few ways in which yoga can help you lose weight.

Yoga helps manage stress

Having chronic stress can easily lead to weight gain due to a hormone called cortisol. Excessivecortisol in your body will give you the urge to eat and potentially over consume food that you don’t need. Yoga lowers your stress level by helping you to focus on your breathing. As simple as it sounds, taking deep breaths can help you reduce your stress. 

Yoga helps you build strength

Shirtless male yoga instructor demonstrates side plank on mat

Yoga is a great way to build up strength in your core, back, sides, pelvis, and glutes. The poses you do essentially are bodyweight exercises that will start to build up and tone your muscles. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat. 

Yoga helps you avoid injuries

As yoga helps you with your flexibility and your mobility, you’re able to prevent injury when doing other activities. This is important because if you can’t work out due to being injured, you’re only going to hinder your progress with fat loss.

Adding yoga to your workout routine will help you lose weight, reduce your stress, and give you the foundation you need for a healthier lifestyle.

Is Yoga Cardio? 

We have been focusing on yoga vs. cardio as different types of exercises but can yoga be cardio?  In short – yes.

Male yoga instructor demonstrates one arm plank pose on yoga matCardio yoga, which may also be referred to as power yoga, is a challenging type of yoga that focuses even more on engaging your muscles. There are a host of benefits that come with cardio yoga. It’s a great way to burn through more calories, while still getting the benefits from a traditional yoga workout.  Cardio yoga tends to be faster paced, and as long as you’re focusing on doing it correctly, using the right techniques,  it can be a great way to get both your heart pumping and focus on building strength, increasing your mobility, and working on your balance. 


Low Impact Cardio Yoga Exercises (Try These Out!)


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