With increasing rush in our lives, we hardly have any time to take care of ourselves. It is evident from the way we lose our agility, gain weight and become prone to injuries and diseases. The effects are seen mainly on our bodies; however the psyche of an individual also sustains these ill-effects. So when people decide upon turning over a new leaf, the dilemma arises whether to choose yoga or exercise.
Some studies say that Yoga is superior to exercising. Others suggest the other way round. However there isn’t any clear cut difference between the benefits of yoga and exercise. Yoga helps people recover from diabetes, multiple sclerosis, kidney disease, breathlessness and psychological disorders such as schizophrenia. It helps in increasing body flexibility thus helping in increased circulation of blood and nutrients. This in turn helps in improving respiratory and circulatory systems of the body.
As for physical exercise, it is any activity that helps in enhancing physical fitness and overall health and well being. There are broadly four categories under physical exercises- endurance, strength, fitness and balance. There are a plethora of activities such as jogging, cycling, dancing, swimming and/or playing any sport.
Now the question is whether doing only yoga or only exercise is beneficial or not. The answer is in negation. Neither yoga nor physical activities can bring all the desired benefits. In fact, research also supports the fact that breaking a sweat by combining both yoga and physical exercises is more instrumental than performing them alone. If an individual wants to lose weight in a short span of time, yoga alone surely will not help as it takes time to show its effects on the body. It is often recommended to combine yoga and cardio. While yoga helps in strengthening muscles and accentuating their flexibility, cardio on the other hand helps in increasing blood circulation and strengthens the lungs.
Gym is often seen as the Mecca of physical exercises, though it is a wrong concept. However, combing yoga and gym is also a rage. For instance, with only weight training, there is a high chance of muscle rigidity. If we combine it with yoga, our muscles remain flexible. Yoga targets all the sets of muscles and not just one. It helps in flushing out the excess acid accumulated in our muscles after workout sessions.
Again, yoga is not the only saviour of the body. As mentioned earlier, the combination of yoga and physical exercises is more beneficial if both have equal contribution. Yoga doesn’t meet even the minimum standards for aerobic exercises. So it is important we combine other exercises too such as jogging, running, cycling that strengthens our respiratory system.
While exercises include intense mental and physical rigour, yoga on the other hand helps you attain mental peace and stability. Both of them target different categories of people on the basis of age. Though performing yoga from a very young age sounds instrumental, yet there is no denial that children love other kinds of physical activities more. Childhood is the time of agility and activity. So sustaining to strict routines like that in yoga is hard for many. On the other hand, it is not possible for aged people to be as agile as a child and hence require the support of yoga to remain active.
At the end, what matters is how we learn to love and respect our physical and mental being. A healthy mind and a healthy body are beneficial not only for oneself but also for the society.