Yoga is a great spiritual and physical activity that offers a comprehensive solution for anyone looking to improve their health and fitness while relieving stress and improving mindfulness. New converts to yoga, however, especially those accustomed to pumping iron or pounding treadmills at the gym, may wonder if yoga can be combined with other activities to create a more holistic approach to their health and fitness.
The answer is, yes… with caveats. While certain types of yoga are great for weight loss and building both flexibility and strength in muscle tissue, many of them do not include the more dynamic and explosive movements of other types of exercise but they must be combined thoughtfully with a yoga routine to maximize results.
Let’s look at some ways that you can supplement yoga with other activities without them impinging on each other or interfering with your progress with your yoga regimen.
Yoga, Cardio, & Strength Training Tips
There’s No Need to Join a Gym
A perfectly adequate strength and cardio fitness regimen can be attained without the expense of a gym membership. Many strength exercises can be done from home using your own body weight. Shopping around for the best stationary bike will enable you to get a great cardio workout from the comfort of your home without the impact stress on your joints caused by running. Plus, joining a gym may cause you to tip your focus away from yoga to get your money’s worth, which may impede your progress.
Find the Right Balance
Nobody wants to show up to yoga class stiff from yesterday’s intense cardio or with fatigued muscles from a hefty weightlifting session. Finding the balance can be difficult and a big part of it is finding a schedule that works for you and fits around your work and family commitments. Don’t go all out for two weeks then give up because it’s all too much effort. By rule of thumb, you should aim to spend half your exercise time on yoga and the rest divided between strength and cardio training.
Mix Things Up
Variety is not just the spice of life, it’s essential when planning a workout regimen to avoid the potential for boredom and apathy. Switching up your weight training and cardiovascular activities between muscle groups will prevent stiffness and fatigue that can impact your yoga regimen. To give you some ideas, here are a variety of strength building and cardiovascular activities that can be done from home:
- Jump Rope
- Crunches and alternate leg raises
- Wall sits
- Jump squats
- Jumping Lunges
- Handstand push-ups or holds against the wall
- Bicep curls with dumbbells
- Shoulder / military press with dumbbells
- Resistance band exercises
Eat Like a Yogi
Needless to say, diet is everything. The most comprehensive exercise regime in the world can’t compensate for a poor diet. Fortunately, the traditional diet of a yogi will also support your other activities. Many gym junkies are concerned about consuming an adequate amount of protein but the good news is that a vegetarian or vegan diet is rich in plant proteins (which are generally of better quality than animal proteins). In fact, all protein is made by plants. Only plants can convert nitrogen from the atmosphere into amino acids, which form the building blocks of protein.
Hopefully, these tips have given you a good starting place to get a good balance of strength training, cardio, and yoga so that you can get even better results from your workouts!
– Marsha 💋