Somewhere along your #fitnessjourney, you’ve probably tried yoga. Maybe you’re a true athlete and you took a class to stretch your muscles, or maybe you’re just a lazy fuck like me and you wanted to try the workout that ends in everyone laying flat on their backs asleep. It’s one of the least intimidating classes out there, compared to more intense programs like cycling and boxing. It helps that yoga teachers encourage you to take breaks and “find your breath” in child’s pose, which is where you can find me nearly 60 percent of the time.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of “moderate-intensity exercise” for the average American, but as it turns out, yoga doesn’t count towards that recommended 150 minutes. Yoga is actually considered “light intensity,” which is a category that includes things like standing, walking slowly, and lifting lightweight objects (like putting away groceries). The CDC considers people who do no other exercise aside from “light intensity” as inactive.
First of all, RUDE. I’m clearly not inactive. Standing burns calories, you know. And as for walking slowly, people move too fast these days. That’s how accidents happen. We’re all in a great big rush and it’s not healthy. Slow and steady all the way. The grocery thing is a whole other story. Have you ever tried to carry six bags of groceries up four flights of stairs just because you didn’t want to make two trips? I’m breaking a sweat just thinking about it.
A review recently published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise looked at 17 different studies on yoga and energy expenditure to come to the conclusion that yoga doesn’t really count as working out. The good thing is that the studies only focused on hatha yoga, which is a kind of yoga that places an emphasis on breathing and balance. Vinyasa yoga, hot yoga, and other types yoga that include cardio seem like they could count as “moderate intensity” exercise, but we’re still waiting on the research to back it up. It all depends on how much effort you put forth during your workout, and if you feel like you aren’t getting your heart rate up during yoga, maybe hit the elliptical for a few minutes afterward.
I think I’ll check out this hatha yoga thing. Looks like it’s right up my alley..