Yoga Vs. Running for Weight Loss
One of the biggest benefits of using exercise to help you lose weight is that your options are virtually endless; you can choose from thousands of different activities that burn calories and improve your health. But with so many options, it's not always clear which form of exercise is best. Both yoga and running are smart choices for anyone hoping to lose weight but each has distinct benefits.
Weight loss comes down to burning more calories than you consume, regardless of how those calories are burned. As long as an activity keeps your body in a calorie deficit, it can aid in weight loss; in theory, this means both yoga and running can help you drop pounds. However, running burns far more calories per minute than yoga, meaning it helps you lose weight at a much faster rate. To give you a better understanding of the difference in calories burned between yoga and running, consider that a 150-lb. person burns 240 calories during an hour of regular yoga and 786 calories in an hour of running.
If you're thinking about adding running or yoga to your exercise routine, it's important to consider how long you can sustain each activity as well as the type you prefer; many people run for 20 to 40 minutes rather than a full hour, which lowers the calorie expenditure. Some forms of yoga, such as Bikram, Ashtanga, Iyengar and Power yoga are more physically demanding and may, therefore, burn more calories.
An important aspect of any exercise routine is strength training; building muscle helps you improve your strength and stamina, reduce your risk of injury and burn more calories even at rest. Both yoga and running can help you build lean muscle, but neither should replace regular strength-training sessions. Together with yoga or running, lifting weights can help you lose weight faster by increasing your calorie expenditure.
Choosing An Activity
If you're trying to lose weight, there's no reason you need to choose between running and yoga. In fact, including both activities in your workout routine can help you target different muscles in your body and even beat boredom so you stick with exercise and continue to lose weight long-term. Each activity has its own benefits; running may burn far more calories but yoga can improve your blood lipid levels and even boost your mood.
Whether it's running, yoga, strength training or anything else, exercise is an important part of successful weight loss. But no matter what you choose, don't forget about the role of a healthy diet for slimming down. Many people find that they can cut more calories through dieting than they can burn through exercise; by combining the two, you can lose weight and improve your strength without feeling hungry. Be sure your diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy to provide the energy you need to power through exercise.
Kristen Fisher is a freelance writer and editor with professional experience in both print and online media. She has published articles on a wide variety of topics including health, fitness, nutrition, home and food, and her work has appeared in "Connections Magazine" and on Lifescript.com. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in psychology.