If you’ve ever had the opportunity to attend a vigorous 90 -minute vinyasa yoga class, then you know just how intense it can get in there. After constructing it halfway through your third round of sun salutations, you notice your vision abruptly starts to get clouded by the profuse amount of sweat dripping from your forehead. So, it’s no surprise that you can’t help but low-key wonder, does yoga count as cardio?
I mean, why else would you be violating such a massive sweat, right? Well, according to the American College of Sports Medicine( ACSM ), aerobic exercise can include any activity that targets large groups of muscles, can be done in a continuous style, and has a sort of rhythmic element to it. If you ask me, that voices more or less identical to the aggressive amount of chaturangas my instructor stimulated me do the other day — that to count as cardio.
The ACSM also defines cardio as workout that increases the need for oxygen and elevates the heart rate to a specific level — which is at least 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate.
OK, so maybe a typical yoga sequence doesn’t get intense, but depending on how challenging and how long your practice is, a fast-paced yoga flow can definitely count as a quality cardio sesh. Still, keep in mind that it may not get your heart working the way a long run or a HIIT circuit will, so be sure to find a balance that’s right for you in your workout routine.
But for now, if you’re sick of the treadmill and want to bust out a tree pose, here are five styles yoga can totally counting as your cardio workout.
1. It Get Your Heart Pumping
Fast-paced vinyasa class may not get your heart rate in the scope it would be during swimming or sprinting. But if you’re not taking a break in between poses, your heart rate can easily get into that cardio-qualified range.
Pick your class wisely when it comes to replacing an elliptical sesh with a yoga flow. Restorative yoga likely won’t cut it, but power vinyasa is exactly where it’s at.
2. It Alleviates Stress
When you find training exercises you love, it naturally relieves stress and leaves you wanting to genuinely practice the routine that much more. And, of course, the more you’re working out, the healthier you, your heart, and your overall body will be.
If the dreadmill makes you wince and downward dog is your jam, you’ll reap the cardiovascular benefits in the long run.
3. It Makes Your Lungs Work
Warrior poses and lunges engage your quads and hamstrings, which are large muscles that need oxygen to run. This makes your heart and lungs work that much harder, and voila — you’re suddenly doing cardio.
Plus, if you are able incorporate deep belly breathing( or ujjayi inhaling) during your flow, it’ll be much easier to get into that true aerobic zone.
4. It Lessens Risk For Cardiovascular Disease
Research from revealed that yoga can lessen health risks of cardiovascular disease, similar to the effects of typical cardio activities like operating and walking.
The study also showed a decrease in risk factors for metabolic syndromes, like obesity, high blood pressure, and poor cholesterol.
5. Sun Salutation Can Get Sweaty AF
When I taught college football players yoga to supplement their strength training, they always dreaded sun salutations because of how challenging they are.
A few rounds of sun salutations can induce you break a sweat, especially if there are no violates in between. They’re kind of like a zen-style burpee.
Plus, if you’re truly curious about yoga’s aerobic qualifications, you can always wear a heart rate monitor during your next class to find the social sciences for yourself.
Namastay off the treadmill, who’s with me?