Much like for a balanced diet you need a range of different foods and vitamins, for a healthy exercise regime you should try and add variety in what you do to workout. Yoga has many benefits and is a great practice for your overall health, but it can be easy to forget the many other exercise options out there.
You may want something more intense, with a higher calorie burn and work up a sweat, or maybe you’re just looking to change it up and do something that feels different from yoga. Here are our top fitness activities that will be able to provide you with anything you feel you’re not getting from yoga - as well as help you hone down your skills on the mat and make progress.
Swimming is a really good cardio workout, and will push you more than even some of the most intense power yoga classes. Swimming will increase your respiratory and cardiac endurance, as well as boost your muscular endurance and speed. Swimming is also very low impact, so you won’t put your joints in danger. What it’s not low impact in, is it’s ability to improve your body’s functional capabilities. IF running isn’t your style, swimming is a great alternative.
Hiking is a great workout, because you can easily do it with friends and combine socializing with exercise. Hiking is also one of the best ways to improve your cardiac endurance as well as boost your muscles if you’re not a fan of the gym. Spending time outdoors can also massively boost your happiness levels, so it’s a great hobby to improve your mental health too. Hiking also works out your joints without stressing them, so there is low risk of injury as long as you don’t trip! Yoga is a great compliment to cardio workouts like hiking because it's super important to stretch afterwards, to avoid any stiffness or tightness.
Rock climbing is a great physical challenge that targets your entire body, in different ways than more traditional types of exercise. There are so many muscles that don’t usually get a workout involved, like your forearms, feet and hands. Building up these muscles is a great way to feel more comfortable in certain yoga positions, as well as help you build up functional upper body strength. Plus - it makes you think and stimulates your brain too!
You might think yoga and pilates are the same, but they are in fact two very different workouts. Pilates has a huge focus on core strength, training abs, back and legs, and you mostly work against resistance - either body weight or using a reformer machine. Pilates is great if you’re recovering from an injury, as it is low impact, but it also helps to build your strength and prevent injuries - as well as providing you with the functional strength and skills needed in many advanced yoga poses.
If you’re looking for a communal aspect in your workouts, taking part in a team sport is a great way to work out while being social - and you can try lots of different things like football, netball or volleyball for example. Look up leagues in your local area or even pull together your own team from your friends, and decide your skill and intensity levels.
Yes - Yoga can offer so much in terms of improving our health both physically and mentally, but why not try some of these ways to mix things up a bit and complement your practice on the mat?
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