Yoga & Cardio: A Match Made in Fitness Heaven

Are you looking for a new way to stay fit?  Do you want to challenge your body in a holistic, balanced manner?  Combining yoga and cardio is the perfect solution!  An exercise plan that brings together these two disciplines can be hugely beneficial – both mentally and physically.  Not only will it improve your strength, flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular endurance, but it can also help reduce stress levels, give you more energy throughout the day, and help deepen your asana practice. 

Before we discuss too much about cardio, let’s first define what we mean by the word.  Cardio does NOT have to mean running marathons or sweating for hours on an elliptical machine.  It can be walking, dancing, playing in the yard with your kids, biking, hiking, rowing; anything that gets your body moving and increases your heart rate.  In this post we’ll explore the benefits of combining yoga and cardio and learn about how they complement each other; keep reading for motivation to take your fitness routine up a notch!

Yoga and cardio each have unique benefits that can enhance your overall fitness level. 

Cardio & Yoga: A Comprehensive Fitness Routine

Yoga and cardio each have unique benefits that can enhance your overall fitness level.  Yoga is great for improving flexibility, balance, and core strength, as well as reducing stress and anxiety.  Cardio exercises, such as walking, cycling, or dancing, are excellent for boosting your heart rate, burning calories, and improving endurance. 

By unifying these different forms of physical activity into one, we incorporate multiple muscle groups and energy systems. Exercises that increase heart rate and warm up the muscles combined with yoga creates a comprehensive workout that incorporates mind, body and soul.

Both forms of exercise are hugely beneficial to our health on their own.  If you have an existing yoga or cardio practice, know that you are already doing enormous good for your overall well-being.  Combining yoga and cardio is simply a way to check more boxes on our list of self-care items, and to broaden our fitness horizon.  Think of adding cardio to your yoga practice much like you’d consider another practice such as meditation or pranayama

Here are some of the key benefits of combining yoga and cardio:

Cardio Improves Our Asana Practice

Doing an activity that increases heart rate before a yoga class also helps warm up (and loosen up!) the muscles of our body.  Most yoga classes will have some type of warm-up to address this issue, but pre-yoga cardio takes the concept of ‘warming up’ to a whole new level.  With more relaxed muscles we can go deeper into our asana and reduce our risk of injury.  Cardio helps broaden our range of motion in yoga poses, making challenging poses more accessible.     

Helps Prevent Boredom and Plateaus

One of the biggest challenges of sticking to an exercise routine is getting bored or hitting a plateau where you don’t see results anymore.  Combining yoga and cardio can help you avoid both.  By switching between different yoga poses and cardio activities, you can keep your workouts fresh and interesting, challenging your body in different ways and preventing boredom.  Also, as your body gets fitter and more adapted to one type of exercise, you can switch to the other to surprise your system and break through plateaus.

Boost Mental Health and Focus

Combining yoga and cardio can also benefit your mental health and focus.  Yoga is known for its stress-relieving and calming effects, as well as increasing mindfulness and concentration.  Cardio exercises, too, can give you an endorphin rush and improve your mood and energy. By practicing both, you can create a workout routine that not only strengthens your body but also your mental resilience and emotional wellbeing.

Cardio & Yoga Can Help with Weight Loss

If you’re looking to shed some extra pounds or maintain a healthy weight, combining yoga and cardio can be a useful strategy.  Cardio exercises increase our heart rate and burn a lot of calories, while yoga can help you build lean muscle mass, which boosts your metabolism even when you’re not working out.  Combining yoga and cardio also helps with muscle memory; by alternating between the two, you can maximize your calorie burn and keep your body guessing. 

Helps Maintain a Consistent Workout Routine

When you incorporate things like cardio and yoga into your regular routine, it starts to become a habit.  Our motivation increases as we start to see results and feel better, in both body and mind.  When yoga and cardio are combined consistently for a period of time, there will be noticeable results.  This creates motivation and makes it easier to get our bodies moving, and to get ourselves to the mat.  We start to feel as though we’ve missed a crucial part of our day when we don’t participate in our practice, and it becomes something we come to rely on as a means for self-care and rejuvenation.

Combining yoga and cardio can be a game-changer when it comes to your fitness goals and overall wellbeing.  By combining the benefits of both activities, you can challenge yourself in new and exciting ways.  We can all benefit from adding cardio to our yoga practice.  Whether you prefer to take a walk, hit the pavement running, or hop on a bike…all of these activities will help us stay active and reap the rewards of cardiovascular exercise.  By incorporating cardio into our yoga practice, we create a diverse approach to our holistic health.

When combined with yoga and its powers of flexibility, strength building, and relaxation – we create something more powerful than either activity could do alone.  When we create balance in our lives through cardio and yoga, we can feel stronger inside and out – physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Come give it a try with us at Inspiring Actions!  Join our Walk & Stretch class, which combines a brisk outdoor walk with 45 mins of gentle yoga to follow.  The class starts June 8th and yogis of all levels are welcome.  Visit our schedule here for more information and to register! 

Yoga can be cardio all on its own; click here for a quick, 10-minute intense yoga workout! 

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