Starting a weight loss journey can be daunting, but there are plenty of enjoyable and low-impact activities which help you stay in a good mood as you shed the extra weight. You’re probably wondering which is better for losing weight, yoga or walking?
Both will give you great results when paired with a healthy diet and positive lifestyle habits. However, to make sure that you get the most out of your fitness goals, you’ll have to consider several factors before you decide whether yoga or walking is the best option for you.
In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of yoga vs. walking so that you’ll know how to determine better the most efficient way to get lean and stay fit.
Yoga is a physical and spiritual practice focused on healing and maintaining the body-mind connection. A combination of intentional movement, specific poses, and breathing techniques promotes overall well-being. Yoga has become popular because of its many physical and mental health benefits and how easy it is to modify gentle movements to fit the needs of people of all ages and abilities.
Walking is one of the simplest ways to implement physical activity into your day-to-day life. With your entire body in motion, walking will engage several muscular systems and put you in a good mood without the risk of overexertion. Because it doesn’t require special equipment and radical schedule changes, many people choose walking as the exercise of their choice.
You’re more likely to look forward to working out if it makes you feel good and maintains your energy levels throughout the day. It encourages you to practice breathwork and mindfulness, easing your mind by reducing stress and anxiety levels. Research shows that it’s very effective in managing symptoms of depression in people suffering from mental disorders. Yoga’s calm flow also enables you to engage your core and perform cardio exercises without the exhaustion high-intensity activities can cause.
Yoga poses are designed to target all of your muscles and joints. Regular stretching is one of the key elements of yoga. It strengthens your muscles and reduces tension in areas prone to pain and injury, such as the back, core, neck, and shoulders. Once you’ve improved your flexibility, you’ll find that assuming more complex poses takes you less time and effort. Eventually, you’ll be able to challenge yourself further by trying out more demanding physical activities.
While yoga is excellent for maintaining the current state of your health, it also strengthens your body’s ability to prevent numerous diseases in the long run. Alongside keeping heart disease at bay by managing high blood pressure, it’s a good method for dealing with inflammation and regulating chronic pain.
Depending on the yoga type and fitness goals, a 60-minute session will torch anywhere from 200 to 500 calories. This variety in poses and exercises means that you can slowly ease yourself into yoga and gradually bump up the intensity when you’ve built enough strength and mobility. Of course, the more intensity you introduce through yoga, the more calories you’ll burn.
Cons of Yoga
Just because yoga is low-impact doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park. To see improvement in your form and mood, you’ll have to be patient, especially if you’re new to yoga or exercising in general.
At first, you might have to modify many poses and start over several times until you get them right. While this is entirely natural, it may cause you to lose confidence and motivation. When you’re in a group class and feel like you’re falling behind, you might even contemplate giving up altogether. So it’s important to remember that real change takes time.
Fully committing to yoga takes time and determination, but it can also cost a pretty penny. Yoga instructors undergo extensive training to earn their certification, so their services can be costly. Moreover, while comfortable, specialized yoga mats and clothes will potentially also put a dent in your budget.
When you have little to no experience, it can be a challenge to start doing yoga regularly. You risk pushing your body to its limits and injuring yourself. When you don’t pace yourself properly, you can even slow your progress because you don’t know how to adjust to the new movements. Before starting, make sure to consult with a yoga instructor to learn how to prepare for your yoga journey and not get discouraged.
The good thing about walking is that you can adjust your pace to achieve your desired results. Walking at a brisk or moderate pace for one hour can help you burn around 225 calories. Your stamina improves, you start walking longer distances, the number of calories you lose will increase.
Because it’s one of the least-demanding forms of exercise, it’s easy to keep your motivation high when walking. The fact that you’re doing something good for your body will make you feel happy and productive, and you can even make it a social event where you and your friends walk together and keep each other accountable.
If you feel your workout is better in the gym or with equipment, a treadmill is an excellent option for walking. Alternatively, if you’re still working your way up to using workout gear and training with other people around, you can just slip into your trusty pair of shoes and head out to complete your walking routine for the day.
Because you’re so used to walking, you’re not always aware of the effort it takes to move your body. With each step you take, your quads, hamstrings, and glutes are constantly working on completing the movements. Despite its low-impact nature, walking requires leg and ankle power and makes the lower body stronger.
While great for the legs, walking does little to target the upper body. Relying solely on walking to train your entire body won’t work, so you’ll have to combine it with other types of exercise. If you want to build upper body strength while walking, you could look into carrying weights to maximize your efforts.
Walking is an excellent way to kick-start your cardio fitness when you’re not used to more strenuous workouts. However, as you grow more capable, you’ll need more challenges to further your progress and maintain your cardiovascular health. So when walking isn’t doing it anymore for you, you might want to try swimming, cycling, running, or boxing.
Walking will help you get in shape and lose weight, but only if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. Be honest with yourself and accept that significant results won’t come overnight. Walking at a brisk pace every day sheds 17 pounds in six months, which are not bad results, but they might put you off walking if you expect quicker progress.
We’ve also made the following infographic showing the pros and cons of yoga vs. walking. Hopefully, it will help you determine which of the two will benefit you the most.
You might want to try yoga if:
Walking could work for you if:
There’s no miracle cure for weight loss, and it takes a lot of energy and time to stick to the best program to achieve the goals you’ve set. So it’s essential to listen to your body and ask yourself these questions:
When you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know what to do to become your best self.
Hopefully, this article has given you a better idea of whether yoga or walking will help you meet your weight loss goals. If you’re considering walking long distances, check out our guide on how to structure your walk!