Yoga vs Pilates: How to Choose the Right Activity for You
Maybe you’ve never exercised a day in your life and feel it’s time to start watching your weight or making healthier choices. Or you’re getting a little tired of the same old exercise routine you’ve been doing for years. Whatever your reason, you’re looking for an activity that will keep you interested, motivated and happy – something most of us struggle with because let’s be honest – exercise is hard. Something that makes the first step a little easier is knowing exactly which activity best suits you and feeling confident in trying it out for the first time.
So to make it easier for you, we’ve broken both activities down to clarify the benefits of each fully. If you have a health condition, it’s best to consult an instructor to determine what’s best for you. It’s also important to keep in mind that these activities can change based on the type of Yoga or Pilates, as well as with the individual instructors. With that being said, here are the main differences between Yoga and Pilates:
Which is better for weight-loss?
Maintaining a sustainable weight is a significant part of keeping a healthy lifestyle. We know that weight gain is related to numerous health conditions and can cause serious damage to our bodies in many different ways. Exercise in all its forms is a great way to keep your weight down, but how effective are Yoga and Pilates?
In theory, Yoga is a great way to lose weight. It gets you moving in ways you never thought you would. But the truth is that Yoga for weight loss is only as effective as you make it. If your Yoga classes leave you sweating with a high heart rate and shaky muscles, chances are you’re going to lose weight (when combined with healthy eating, of course). The basic idea is that you need to use more calories than you consume for your body to burn fat. So if your Yoga doesn’t challenge you, you probably won’t see significant change.
While Pilates can be slightly more intensive depending on the type, it is still only as effective as you make it. Your workouts should be challenging for your muscles and increase your heart rate. This also depends on the level of Pilates you do. You may find that a beginners class is too easy and you might want to move up to more challenging classes. Many Pilates classes also have a cardio element, increasing the rate at which weight loss can be achieved.
Overall, both activities can be used to maintain weight, but it all depends on you. If you want better results, opt for longer workouts. Or you can choose a more intensive version of the activity you wish to do. You can also add cardio elements to your workout like running, walking or swimming before you start. However, burning calories is not the only factor in weight loss – building muscle is also important. Which brings us to our next point:
Which activity is best for toning your muscles?
Again, this depends on you and how hard you work on each discipline. However, both Yoga and Pilates are considered great ways to tone and strengthen your muscles.
Yoga does help to tone muscles as the poses contain many different holds and balances. Yoga is seen as mind-body fitness, meaning the physical element is just as important as the mental well-being. Yoga mainly utilises body-weight exercises, but some make use of equipment to intensify the workout. The level of intensity depends heavily on the level of class difficulty.
Pilates workouts are often more intensive for your muscles. There is a major focus on correct breathing techniques to ensure that muscles are getting sufficient oxygen to maintain this hard work. Pilates is also known to target the core which is vital to overall body strength.
Both exercises offer a low-impact workout for the muscles, without compromising the joints. When it comes down to it, Pilates may provide a faster means of achieving toned muscles. Yoga offers an alternative for individuals who wish to increase their fitness at a slightly slower pace. However, this depends on many different factors – mostly the amount of effort you put in.
Which helps to increase flexibility?
Yoga is arguably the best way to increase flexibility. Yoga includes deep stretching poses that affect joint and muscle mobility. Stretching is what keeps us young, as immobility can leave us feeling tired, sore and restricted. It is so important to have flexibility training as a part of your regular exercise routine – you might not value the results right now, but the long-term gain is more than worth it.
Pilates can certainly help to increase flexibility through movement. Through a focus on core strength, Pilates can improve your posture and balance. However, it generally does not have the deep stretch elements that really work to increase overall flexibility.
If you are looking to change your flexibility over time, there’s nothing quite like Yoga. But you shouldn’t remove Pilates out of the equation altogether.
And the verdict is…
Try both! Both Pilates and Yoga offer unique benefits and the only way to truly discover your personal preference is to try both. Lucikly at Dainfern, these activities don’t clash in terms of time, so you can enjoy Pilates one day and Yoga the next. It’s all about finding the right fit for you.
From our comparison, which activity interests you the most?