Aa
A
A
A
Close
Diet and Fitness Community
7.73k Members
973741 tn?1342342773

Thoughts on Yoga?

When I exercise, I want to 'feel' it in terms of sweat and being out of breath.  :>)  Yoga seems pretty chill.  Some do it as their main source of exercise though.  What do you think?  Cardio or yoga?  
3 Responses
649848 tn?1534633700
COMMUNITY LEADER
I used to do yoga every day and loved it.  There are a variety of different types of yoga - some more active than others, so you can actually work up a sweat if that's your goal.  There's yoga for every age and level of activity, ranging from weight loss to chair yoga for seniors or disabled.

I have a DVD called "Yoga for Weight Loss" that is a pretty good work out and it has various levels (beginner on up), so it's starts pretty slow and as you get more experienced, it gets more difficult, plus the more advanced workouts are longer.  
\
Yoga is more like using your own body for weight training because you're strengthening your core but the poses are very deliberate.  Of course, when I first started, I couldn't come close to performing the poses like the video leader(s), but it didn't take long to be able to do it.

I've actually found that I tend to lose more weight doing yoga than almost anything else.  Yoga stresses balance, breathing and relaxation so it "opens" your body. When I was doing it regularly, my muscles felt a lot longer, stronger and leaner even if I wasn't actually losing pounds and as an added bonus, my clothes fit better.   It also helped me relax easier.  

It's always worth a try - you can research the various types to find the one you like best.  There's a variety of YouTube videos to find something you like - some "instructors" are better than others, so that's something to keep in mind when looking.  

You can also try both yoga and cardio - a good brisk walk in the morning and a nice relaxing yoga in the evening.  Since it's a good idea to switch up your exercise routine, you could take the walk (or other cardio) one day and yoga the next, as well as learning a variety of types of yoga to make it interesting and/or different.
Avatar universal
Yoga, as Barb mentions, comes in infinite varieties.  What most of us know is pretty much beginner yoga, but if you do it for years it gets harder and harder and harder and more and more of a muscle building workout.  But it's not weightlifting, you're not going to get huge biceps doing it.  But if you look at the more advanced poses, they're really hard to do and require a lot of balancing on hands and arms and one leg and the like that is pretty invigorating.  There are also forms of yoga that are fast and some that are very very slow.  After thousands of years, and who knows how many different schools and teachers and two major religions, it's gotten quite complex.  But Barb is also right that if you're fit enough, mixing cardio with any kind of strength training, which would include advanced yoga and pilates, is better than just doing one or the other.   But the problem with cardio is, if you really want to do cardio you have to move fast enough long enough to get out of breath for a sufficient amount of time to strengthen your heart.  I walk because I've got so much pain all the time I can't run or do elliptical or all the things I used to do anymore, but there's no way I consider walking cardio.  When I could walk for a very long time, which is actually hiking, it was good exercise, but I still wouldn't compare it to running or anything else that really taxes your breathing.  Walking doesn't do that unless you have an illness.  One way to combine all these different things into one activity is to do martial arts, especially kung fu.  Kung fu combines chi gong and tai chi, which does what yoga does for you, with lots of strength training and a lot of cardio when you do the form and especially when you spar.  But it's only for the fit and for those who can take getting hurt pretty often.  Peace.
10 Comments
Oh, and you really can't lengthen muscles.  They are the size they are.  They don't get longer.
I'm aware that muscles are what they are - I said they "felt" longer and stronger... Since yoga (and Pilates) strengthen the core, they have a tendency to make us stand taller and straighter, which gives the illusion of "lengthening" muscles    :-)

Walking can be good cardio if done at a brisk pace and/or the pace alternated.  "Strolling" on the other hand is a good way to get fresh air, but probably won't do a lot for weight loss or building the heart, unless one is ill or recovering from an illness.  We're always advised to start any new exercise at a slower pace and work up, so if a stroll is the best one can manage, we should always remember that any movement is better than no movement.  

The trick with walking for weight loss (for me) is to vary the speed/duration because as with any routine, doing the same thing, at the same speed for the same amount of time every day makes our body get used to it and it's less useful because it's no longer a challenge.  
If you really want to do cardio to strengthen your heart, but don't want to do a lot of running or biking, walking up hills can really get your heart rate up without putting the same type of strain on your joints or forcing yourself to move fast.  

If you have access to a treadmill that has an incline, you can do "hill repeats", walking up an incline for short periods of time followed by a "recovery" where you walk flat and let your heart rate come back down.  And, if you want to build up a sweat, this can be very effective.  Even moving very slowly, I will break out in a sweat and get out of breath walking up a 10% incline on the treadmill.

Yesterday, when I was out on my run, I saw an older man (in his late 70s or early 80s) walking and carrying a dumbbell in each hand, which can also turn a slower walk into more of a cardio workout.  There are also weighted vests, which can turn any walk into a more intense cardio exercise.

I used to do yoga every day too!  That was in the early 2000s, and I still like the idea of doing yoga every day, but I have fallen way off the yoga wagon and my one attempt to get back on this year ended with my back feeling sore from a pose that I knew was probably a bad idea (it was on an Adidas yoga for runners Youtube video and I did it anyway, even though I knew better).  I also quickly realized that if I want to get back in to yoga, I need to deal with my frozen shoulder, so I'm currently just doing some simple stretches to see if I can unfreeze it.
I would only put one warning on walking hills, and that conforms to what Barb said about varying your routine.  I found out the hard way that walking hills -- I couldn't personally walk on a treadmill, if I'm going to walk or run I'm going outside -- every day can for older people especially but for anyone harm the hips.  It gets hard to avoid injuries when you've got so many you're confined to doing just one thing.  Repetitive motion with stress like walking hills can be a problem.  Doesn't mean it will be, but it is something to be aware of.  On the other hand, I varied my exercise for most of my life and still ended up with tons of injuries, so you just never know why this stuff happens.  
And I know my view on walking is an outlier here.  Maybe it's because I did so much serious cardio for so many years that walking just doesn't really feel like it's burning at all.  It is still movement, and it's still quite beneficial and safe, but my own experience for whatever it's worth is that if walking gets you out of breath, you have a health problem.  If you walk fast enough to get out of breath, and I walk about as fast as a human can, you're actually probably jogging.
Hmm that is something to think about.  My running podcasts often say that running up hills is great because it puts less stress on joints than running faster on flat ground and can be a good alternative to doing a "speed workout".  My gluteus muscles certainly don't thank me after a hill repeat workout, but as far as stress on my joints, it is far more likely for me to do damage doing a hard, flat interval workout.  

I would also think that walking (or running) up hills is something to build up to, like hiking, and I completely agree about not doing it every day.  

If you are talking about not getting out of breath by walking in general (I know some trained ultramarathoners can get out of breath walking up steep hills), I think that varies from person to person.  I've never dealt with a serious weight problem and how the body handles carrying some extra weight, but I have friends who are overweight but otherwise healthy but would be out of breath walking some longer distances.  

We are all different, and not everyone starts out with the greatest lung capacity or ability to pump blood throughout the body.  Just carrying a little extra weight can make walking much more difficult, because the muscles have to move a heavier weight across a horizontal surface, each time those muscles fire, oxygen needs to be brought from the lungs, the larger the body volume, the harder the heart has to work for this to happen.  I think you would be surprised, but many people can get out of breath by just walking faster than their normal pace, and there is not anything wrong with that, especially if they are just starting to get into walking for health benefits.

As for walking not being "serious cardio", it is not the same as running, but some would say that some runners can be a bit obsessive and over do it.  Walking 1 mile is moving the body the same exact distance as running 1 mile, it may just take a little longer.  Someone running might burn about 30% more calories over the same distance than if that person had walked it.  But, let us say the person walking is overweight, and compare that person to a runner who is well trained and of a healthy weight.  The person walking is going to burn more calories over the same distance because it requires more energy to move a heavier weight across a distance, this is just physics.  No need to "feel the burn" or "get out of breath", walking is a healthy cardio activity to do, can get the heart pumping, and will burn some calories.

For cardiovascular health, walking is one of the best things you can do for yourself if not already engaged is frequent cardio exercise.

According to this website: https://www.summitmedicalgroup.com/news/fitness/Walking-for-Heart-Health/
Walking can:
Improve your cardiovascular health if you do it 30 minutes 3 times a week
Reduce your risk of heart disease by 30 percent to 40 percent  if you do it briskly 3 or more hours a week
Increase your lifespan up to 5 years if you walk 2 or more miles a day
Lower your blood pressure if you do it briskly just 30 minutes most days of the week
Drop unwanted pounds if you do it briskly 30 minutes most days of the week
Raise your good (high-density lipoprotein [HDL]) cholesterol in as little as 18 weeks

(As a runner, I'm going to say that walking is one of the best exercises you can do.)



I've been a walker for a few years now.  Until I hurt my arms and neck I was alternating it with weightlifting at the gym (remember gyms?) but I've had to stop that for now.  When I walked for two and a half hours including hills but not just hills, it was pretty good exercise.  Now it's much shorter because I ended up injuring my hips.  That's when I learned that repetitive hill walking can do that.  I knew a psychologist who loved hiking and was in a hiking club and she ruined her hips as well.  But we did it in our sixties, which means a lot of other stuff we did went into it as well.  I agree with what you're saying.  Because I played basketball for so many years, and ran for so many years, and did martial arts for so many years, walking for me just isn't a burn.  But I wasn't really talking calories.  Any movement burns calories.  A lot of the benefits of walking also are adding walking to do your errands and getting to public transportation and back, not replacing other forms of exercise, when studies are done.  They report a lot on places where there is little obesity and they find those people use their legs or a  bike for getting around, not driving everywhere.  But again, that's in addition to any formal exercise they do.  It's not necessary to stay thin or be fit or live a long healthy life to do any formal exercise at all as long as you do move a lot.  But I was referring to those who desire an exercise that specifically strengthens the heart muscle, and this is just my understanding, but I believe you have to get out of breath for a reasonable amount of time so that you are pushing the heart muscle and thus strengthening it, just as weightlifting only gets you bigger muscles if you lift enough weight to make it hard to do.  That doesn't mean lifting light weights isn't good exercise or that walking isn't good exercise. I was only referring to the heart muscle.  When I first got injured, the one constant every health professional I saw told me was to not run (all of these people ran for exercise, of course).  They said it was just too much pounding unless you ran on soft unpaved surfaces, which are very hard to find anymore.  But there are lots of ways to get cardio -- bicycling, elliptical machines, swimming, etc.  Running isn't the only game in town.  The two most efficient activities I ever did for overall fitness were martial arts and playing basketball.  Lots of ways to live.  Peace.
I don't think you have to get "out of breath" in order for an exercise to help your heart.  According to my cardiologist, I need to do activities that bring the heart rate up higher i.e. to a "target" rate.  There are some basic guidelines for that, but we're all different so our target heart rate won't be the same.  To get maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.  According to the American Heart Association, we should exercise at 50-75% of our maximum HR for beginners or moderately intense activity and 70-85% during vigorous activity.

When I had my stress test, the target heart rate they wanted me to exercise to was 147 bpm, but they wanted me to be able to continue talking the whole time.  There were 2 people administering the test - one was monitoring my HR and the other was making sure I wasn't getting too short of breath... they both talked to me the whole time and expected me to be able to talk to them.


From Johns Hopkins:
"When you exercise, your heart should beat at a certain rate. This is called your target heart rate. Here’s how to figure it out:
•Estimate your maximum heart rate. To do this, subtract your age from 220. A 55-year-old person would have an estimated maximum heart rate of 165 beats per minute (BPM).  
•Multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.65. This is the low end of your target heart rate (Ex. 165 x 0.65 = 107 BPM).
•Multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.80. This is the high end of your target heart rate (Ex. 165 x 0.80 = 132 BPM).  
•So, a 55-year-old would have a target heart rate of 107 to 132 BPM.•It’s easy to find your BPM. Just take your pulse for 10 seconds. Then multiply by 6.

How do you know if you are working hard enough? How can you tell if you are working too hard? Try the “talk test.” While exercising, you should be able to talk with ease. But, you should not be able to belt out a song.

Moderate exercise is just fine for most people. Vigorous exercise, such as running, can make you a better athlete. But, it can also raise the risks of heart attack and injury. "

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/diabetes/diabetes_education/patient_education_material/exercising_like_your_life_depends_on_it.pdf

Here's a heart rate chart, based on age:
https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/target-heart-rates

When I go to the cardiologist, the # 1 question they ask is if I have shortness of breath because that's one sign of heart problems.  

From what I've always been told, you should be able to breathe well during exercise - if you can't, you're overdoing it and won't be getting enough oxygen to all your cells.
Thanks for the info Barb!  

I completely agree that being out of breath is not a great sign when working out.  There is even a "method" of running called Maffetone heart rate training where all the runs are done at a low heart rate (180 minus your age) so if you are 55, this would be 125 bpm, and subtract another 10 bpm if you are on medication or had surgery in the last year.  A lot of people end up having to walk when they start this method, but eventually the heart (and lungs and cardiovascular system) adapts and you can progressively run faster at a low heart rate.  So even without running at a pace where you feel out of breath, you can strengthen your heart and become a better athlete.

I don't do Maffetone training, but the majority of my runs are at a very easy pace where I can maintain conversations with people.  I do some workouts at a faster pace and higher heart rate, but at least 6 out of 7 runs are usually in the "easy" range (lately, it has been 7 out of 7 because it has been hot here) ... my heart rate is normally below 140, although if it is hot outside or if my iron levels are low it might be a bit higher.
I guess I should clarify.  When I say get out of breath, I don't mean stay out of breath.  That's dangerous.  When you run or do any vigorous cardio you get out of breath, but you also learn at that point to either stop and rest, slow down and rest, or learn to do breathing that slows it down without you having to slow down.  What I really meant was, the heart is a muscle, and if you intend to make it stronger and you're physically young enough and able to do it, you have to make it work hard.  Again, it's just like weight lifting -- if you want stronger muscles, you have to lift enough weight to be some strain.  Over time you get used to it and then you have to add weight or run longer etc. if your goal is to increase strength.  But overdoing it will harm you.  When the above ties running to heart problems, that's usually tied to long distance running.  There is some research, and when doctors were still on this site the heart doc warned folks not to do marathons if they valued their hearts, that shows there is some increase in heart disease in those who run long distances regularly.  How many people that affects and how long you have to run before you reach that level he didn't specify, but he was always repeating that advice.  So yes, nobody should exercise beyond their capacity.  I also keep saying, any movement is valuable, and exercise doesn't have to build a stronger heart muscle significantly to be valuable for fitness and weight maintenance.  Those are different things.  Lifting weights that are too light to build muscle is still good exercise.  I hope this clarifies the point.  Nobody has to do cardio to have a healthy life.  Everyone does have to move a lot to live a healthy life.  Peace. all.
649848 tn?1534633700
COMMUNITY LEADER
Sarahjogs...  I can sympathize.  Both of my shoulders have been frozen - one right after the other.  It took about 18 months total to get the first (right) one "thawed" including about 3 months of physical therapy and a cortisone shot.  As I was working on the right on, the left one began freezing up and by the time the right one was completely usable again, the left was completely frozen.  I did the same exercises I was taught in PT, but still ended up with a cortisone shot.  It took close to a year to get the left one thawed...  

Good luck with it.  
3 Comments
Thanks Barb,

I separated my left shoulder in 2017 (it was mild.  I was never in that much pain but had to wear a sling for three weeks).  It healed fine, I had full range of motion (but wasn't lifting heavier than about 8 lb shoulder press for a year).  Then in 2018 I had the two thyroid surgeries and was hypo after that, and sometime mid to late 2019 (now no longer hypo) it started "freezing".  

My range of motion is much better than many people with frozen shoulder, so I know I should not be too frustrated with it.  I can lift my arm almost to vertical (flexion), but when it is out to the side I can only lift it to about horizontal, and if my arms are straight out in front of me, my horizontal extension (bringing it from the front to in line with my body) is nowhere near reaching my body plane.  Mostly, I get annoyed trying to fasten clasps behind my back, or pain trying to turn the light switch off at night (rotating it when it is stretched out).

My shoulders used to be so flexible (possibly too flexible, which might be why the shoulder separation happened because it wasn't from a fall, or a tricep dip, or anything that normally causes an AC injury, but from doing a side plank, something I've done hundreds of times before.)

So far, since I started stretching it about a month ago, I've noticed a decrease in pain when I do the cross body stretch (holding my arm across my body with the good arm), and an increase in how far I can finger walk up the wall, and a definite decrease in pain when fastening clasps behind my back, so I am hopeful it will be able to thaw.   Once it is safe to get back to swimming, I would love to start swimming laps again, so hopefully as long as I don't lose more range of motion from where I am now, I could probably still do that (I might not look as smooth as I once did until range of motion is back.)  

I'm hoping that this was caused by combination of scar tissue from the shoulder injury and hypothyroidism induced shoulder inflammation during the very hypo time period in 2018 and early 2019, and that my right shoulder will remain healthy.

It gives me hope that you were able to unfreeze yours.
Although most doctors would deny it (they deny a lot of things...lol), frozen shoulder can actually be caused by thyroid malfunction.   I didn't so anything to mine as far as injury... the right one just gradually started freezing up and my range of motion kept getting less and less until I could barely move my arm.  I put up with it for quite some time, thinking it would straighten out on its own, but after I researched and found out how long it "can" take to get rid of it, I talked to my doctor about it.  I was already 6-8 months into it by then.  He ordered the PT and gave me the cortisone shot to ease the pain, but that didn't last very long.  I just had to work through it.  When I  had about 50% range of motion back in the right shoulder, the left started freezing more.  Fortunately, I'd already done the PT on the right one, so I knew what exercises to do and began them right away.  About 6 months into that one, my doctor gave me the cortisone shot and healing progressed quickly after that.  It was time consuming and painful, but I do have pretty much full range of motion again.

Like you, clasping something behind my back was one of the most difficult things, but I couldn't put my hands above my head or anything so even getting things from the cabinets was a chore if my husband wasn't around to help me.   Even when they released me from PT, I still wasn't able to raise my arm to a horizontal position - that still took several more months.  

I really hope your healing goes better because it was a miserable 18 months and that you don't get it in both shoulders.
Thanks - I am pretty sure my thyroid malfunction has played a big role in the frozen shoulder, based on the timing.

I have no idea how far in I am, I think I noticed some pain back late 2019, but didn't really notice loss in range of motion until March 2020, but I have a feeling the loss of RoM happened well before that.  I am very lucky that I can still go running no problem, and unless I am trying to lift my arms up at the sides with 3 pound weights, or reach behind my back, or stretch past my limited range, there has been very little pain.

I also might have a high threshold for pain or lower ability to sense pain.  I have natural red hair and I just googled this ... apparently "They may be less sensitive to electric shock, needle pricks and stinging pain on the skin." which might explain why I could barely feel injections I've had in my gluteus medius this year (blood draws from my elbow still hurt though).  

I'm so sorry for what you have gone through with your frozen shoulders.  Right now, I'm just trying to treat it like a project to work on and gain mobility and I luckily don't have added pain on top of that to manage, and I probably should just refer to it as "slightly frozen" because my range of motion is not so bad, it is just not where it used to be.
Have an Answer?
Top Healthy Living Answerers
649848 tn?1534633700
FL
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
14 super-healthy foods that are worth the hype
Small changes make a big impact with these easy ways to cut hundreds of calories a day.
Forget the fountain of youth – try flossing instead! Here are 11 surprising ways to live longer.
From STD tests to mammograms, find out which screening tests you need - and when to get them.
Tips and moves to ease backaches
Here are 12 simple – and fun! – ways to boost your brainpower.