There’s nothing like a good sweat session to burn off that stress. But when it comes to cardio vs yoga, which is really better for reducing stress?
There are multiple health and fitness benefits to both cardio and yoga workouts. Both are great for the body and the mind—and both are great stress and anxiety reducers.
But when it comes down to it, the answer depends on you.
Some people prefer cardio like kickboxing or running to feel like they are getting rid of that extra stress. Others prefer the deep breathing, quiet, and peaceful stretches of yoga to find that inner calmness.
It comes down to preference, but I’m making the case for each to let you decide.
Cardio Is Better For Stress
Ever walk into the gym fuming at someone or a situation? Now think about that feeling you had while hitting the punching bag with all your might during thatkickboxing classyou love.
You leave that class feeling completely rid of all that negativity.
Biologically, cardio increases the amount of oxygen to the muscles and increases blood flow, which in turn decreases tension to then reduce stress levels.
Exercise in general causes the release of endorphins, the “feel good” hormone. Cardio triggers the release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which are all these hormones that reduce stress and tension. So this means less worry and more happy vibes. This boost in mood lingers on well past the workout ends—especially if you keep up with a regular exercise routine.
It also lowers the production of the stress hormone cortisol. As a result, you are calmer and feel much more in control.
Mentally, cardio helps you to work up and sweat. That helps to let our frustration. Plus cardio workouts allow you to get into the zone and not think about whatever has been troubling you.
Yoga Is Better For Stress
Yoga is all about mindfulness. At its core is the fact that it is a stress-reducing activity that calms the body and mind.
That’s because you are using deep breathing combined with meditation to clear the mind and find zen.
Plus yoga is all about stretching, which also reduces stress and tension in the body.
There are different types of yoga, with more slow options better suited for optimal relaxing. Faster moving yoga does serve as a great workout when it comes to strengthening the muscles and burning more calories.
Either way, yoga is still a form of exercise, thus a great stress reducer.
Cardio vs Yoga
Your go-to workout to reduce stress is based on preference, but combining both cardio and yoga into your routine is a great idea.
While very different, they both have more than stress-reducing benefits.
Here are the calorie burning stats of a 155-pound person who works out for 30-minutes:
high impact aerobics: burns 260 calories
Vigorous stations cycling (spin class): 391 calories
Running (10-minute mile): 372 calories
Swimming: 223 calories
Hatha yoga (stretching): 149 calories
Both exercises promote heart health and circulation. Yoga is great for flexibility and balance. It also is a great way to strengthen the muscles and build a strong core. Cardio is great for endurance, weight loss and strengthening muscles.
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From Head to Toe: The Benefits of a Cardio Workout, Cleveland Clinic
Exercise as Stress Relief, Peggy Pletcher, MS, RD, LD, CDE , Healthline
How Yoga Can Help Reduce Stress, Ann Pizer, Verywell Mind
Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weight, Harvard Health Publishing,