Can I Workout with just Yoga? Science Has an Answer for You…

Are you wondering, “Can I workout with just Yoga?”

If you’re a busy person with only a short window in your day for your daily exercise, it may be tough to find the right workout for you. Yoga offers you a lot of benefits—from better muscular endurance to improved mobility to mental relaxation—so it seems like a great go-to workout, right?

We’ve got answers for you in this post!

We’ll look at the question, “Can I workout with just Yoga?” and examine what Yoga can do for you, what your body needs, and how to obtain all the exercise needed to be healthy.

By the end, you’ll know everything there is to know about getting fit with Yoga…and possibly other workouts, too.

Can I Workout with Just Yoga? The Benefits of Yoga

As you know, Yoga is a truly amazing form of exercise! It offers a lot of benefits, including:

  • Improved cardiovascular health – Thanks to Yoga, you can improve circulation, heart health, lung capacity, breath control, and oxygenation. You’ll find that your entire cardiovascular system functions better because of your daily Yoga sessions.

  • Better flexibility and mobility – Not only does Yoga help to increase your joints’ range of motion, but also ensures smoother and more correct motion of those joints. It will help you develop both flexibility and mobility, making your movements overall much easier.

  • Increased muscle tone and endurance – Because of the difficulty of holding the more challenging poses, your muscles will get an excellent endurance workout. You won’t build raw strength or power, but your muscles will be better able to sustain effort for longer.

  • Improved core strength – Yoga focuses a lot on your core muscles: abs, lower back, obliques, hips, and glutes. This is actually a very good thing, because your core muscles are the ones most prone to injury during your daily activities. By strengthening your core, you both reduce injury risk and help your body to move more fluidly and with greater cohesion between the upper and lower halves.

  • Better digestion and metabolism – Yoga, like all exercise, speeds up your metabolism by burning calories. You won’t burn as many calories as you would by running, lifting weights, or doing other higher-intensity exercise, but you will still boost your metabolism. And, of course, thanks to the bending and twisting poses so common to Yoga workouts, you can also greatly improve your digestion through your workouts.

  • Enhanced mental wellness – Yoga isn’t just about the physical; it also works on the spiritual and mental aspects of your wellbeing. Through meditation, mindfulness, breath control, and mantras, it can help to re-center a stressed mind, bring you calm, and help you take control of your thoughts.

As you can see, there are A LOT of good reasons to incorporate Yoga workouts into your daily life.

But the question here is “Can I workout with JUST Yoga?” Keep reading, because science has an answer for you!

Can I Workout with Just Yoga? Science Says No…

Back in 2016, the American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association released a study [1] that actually evaluated the metabolic intensity and energy cost of Yoga workouts (specifically, Hatha Yoga). The scientists looked at how much actual work the Yoga sessions were, and how much of a strain they placed on the bodies of trainees.

Through the evaluation, they determined that the majority of Yoga sessions qualified as “light intensity” exercise (similar to going for a walk), with a few rising to “moderate intensity” (similar to jogging, rowing, or cycling at a slow pace). A few of the sequences and poses (such as Surya Namaskar) met the established criteria to be classified as “moderate” or “high intensity”, but overall, Yoga was just “light intensity”.

What does this mean for you?

Well, according to the U.S. government [2], you are recommended to get 75 minutes of vigorous or “high intensity” exercise per week, or 150 minutes of “moderate intensity” exercise per week. That means that, for the most part, Yoga is just too “light” to help you meet your weekly recommended standards for exercise.

That’s not at all to say that Yoga isn’t an excellent addition to your life. As you saw above, it offers some pretty amazing health benefits. But if your goal is to get fit, lose weight, increase your metabolic rate, and generally stay healthy, you will need to consider another form of workout that increases the intensity of your training.

It’s recommended that you try one of the following:

  • Resistance training. Lifting weights and engaging in bodyweight training will be most effective for increasing your daily calorie expenditure and boosting your metabolism.

  • Moderate-to-high-intensity cardio. Running, jogging, cycling, rowing, climbing stairs, or swimming are all excellent metabolism-boosting workouts.

Sports. Sports boost your metabolism and get your cardiovascular system working hard to burn calories.