I t is well known that if you want to lose weight, you can’t escape dieting and working out in the gym until you get a good sweat. Aerobics, like running or biking, are extremely popular lately due to their incredible capacity of raising the heart rate, but what do you do if you just can’t keep up with the intensity these workouts require (your knees may hurt as a consequence of arthritis or obesity, or you may need to take it slowly after hip surgery)? Would it be sufficient to install a Pilates reformer in your home gym or take out your old Yoga mat and resort to one of these techniques to effectively lose some pounds? And which of them burns more calories? Below, we talk about how Pilates and Yoga work and how they affect your body and mind, so stay with us to see which is the right selection for you.
One thing these two types of exercises have in common is that they are low-impact, which means that you can complete them without fearing that your knees or hips may kill you after one session. They both make you more flexible and aware of your body movements. However, they have a very different history and are often used for different goals.
Yoga is an ancient practice that appeared in India, and it implies taking a certain pose and trying to maintain it while focusing on your breathing. In time, a lot of Yoga routines and breathing techniques have been developed, so there is a lot of versatility here.
Pilates, alternatively, was invented in the 19th century by German Joseph Pilates, who looked for a way to improve his health. He then developed his technique by working with soldiers who were wounded throughout World War I. Doing Pilates implies taking a pose and maintaining it while moving your arms and legs. Pilates can be done either on a mat or by using the apparatuses invented by Joseph Pilates.
|Better at Improving Cardio Fitness||Better at Increasing Body Strength|
|Enhances suppleness and balance, gradually preparing the trainee for more complex poses||Fortifies the core and builds endurance|
|Centers on mindfulness – the trainee is encouraged to meditate and find inner peace||Centers on recovery – the routine is methodical, and rigor is encouraged|
|Both Encourage Weight Loss|
|Both Are Low-Impact Exercises|
|Offers a lot of variety in style||Offers some variety|
It is hard to imagine that you could get an increased pulse by doing slow movements. But now imagine that you are doing a set of Yoga exercises that last for 45 minutes and that you are doing your best to do each pose accurately and maintain it for the time your instructor tells you. Yoga can be part of a prevention program for cardiovascular disease, according to this study, especially if you resort to a more engaging type, like Vinyasa, which consists of a row of movements that are executed without interruption. Thus, having to shift from one pose to another adds extra calorie consumption and upholds a high heart rate that advantages the circulatory system. Pilates can also increase your pulse, but since there is not as much variation and the focus is put mostly on firming the body, the cardio effect is not that pronounced.
It was actually invented for this purpose, and the movements are intended to toughen your muscles and core so you can regain your balance in case you have lost it after an accident. This method was used extensively by dancers not only for recovery but to prevent injury as well. The idea behind this is that the flexibility you gain while doing Pilates helps you move more fluidly and quickly regain control over your body when you are bout to fall. A team of researchers from the University of Montreal was interested to see how dynamic body posture is different in dancers who were doing Pilates compared to dancers who didn’t, and their study revealed that the first category showed better upper body strength that offered them increased control over their movements.
The secret to losing weight is to get your heart pumping. Now, we have already established that Yoga is better at this, especially a more active type of Yoga, but you will need to build toward this type of workout, and for some can even be impossible to reach that level that will allow 50 minutes of Yoga to equal 30 minutes on an elliptical. In general, if you are doing beginner Yoga, you will expend around 180 calories per session, but if you go for more intense classes and pick a demanding Yoga type, you can go up to over 400 calories expended.
Bikram Yoga, for instance, is one of the most efficient. The classes take place in a warmed room or an infrared sauna with a 40% level of humidity and last an hour and a half, during which you execute a total of 26 poses. This study from 2014 discovered that during a Bikram Yoga session, a woman can expend up to 330 calories and a man around 460 calories.
Pilates can also help you lower your BMI, and the great news is that it is more accessible. Basically, everyone can take the classes, and the rate of sticking to the routine is surprisingly high. On the other hand, it will take longer to lose weight, as you will burn only 175 calories per session, 250 if you are taking an advanced class. Nevertheless, you are working toward your goal, and this is important.
Even if none of the two methods targets directly weight loss, they can help you perform better at other exercises that can help you expend more calories. For example, Yoga will give you a lot of elasticity you can put into your gymnastics exercises. You will be able to try more workouts and do them at a more rapid pace without fearing that you may injure yourself. Pilates builds strength and fortifies your wrists, so you will be able to do more barbell squats or lift more when you are benching. They can also function as recovery therapies after intense training, helping you reduce muscular pain so you can be ready to hit the gym again faster.
Stress is known to be one of the factors that contribute to weight gain, but it can be very difficult to get disconnected from work problems or family problems, especially since working from home got them intertwined. Yoga offers you a window during which you can clear your mind and focus on your movements only. Pilates promotes concentration as well and is a great stress reliever, but its repetitive movements can become too monotonous.
You will lose some pounds with either of the methods, although not as much as you would with cardio workouts that were conceived specifically for this goal. So, what is more significant when making the decision is to think about your body limits and your overall expectations. In general, doing Pilates is easier than doing Yoga since the positions are more accessible, and you have some machines to help you out. Pilates is great if you are looking to get stronger and more confident, and it is a great way to deal with bad posture caused by sitting for too long at your desk.
Yet, if you are more of a spiritual person looking for a moment of peace while getting good cardio exercise, you should go with Yoga. If you manage to advance in your technique, you may be able to try other types that will help you expend more calories in the long run.