Yoga is an excellent addition to your fitness regime, but should you choose hot yoga or regular yoga? Here are the facts about both types. Which option is the best fit for your lifestyle and workout goals?
Is Hot Yoga Effective for Weight Loss?
Hot yoga—or Bikram Yoga—is a popular type of yoga done in a hot, humid yoga studio. The temperatures typically soar to about 105 degrees, with optimal humidity levels at about 40%. Bikram Yoga is often touted as an excellent weight loss workout, but research suggests that it isn’t as effective for weight loss as one might think.
Researchers monitored healthy, non-active participants as they completed 24 Bikram Yoga sessions over the course of 8 weeks. At the end of the study, participants showed modest increases in strength, balance, and muscle control, but little weight loss … so little, in fact, that the finding surprised researchers. A subsequent study found that, although Bikram Yoga did raise heart rates significantly, it did little to raise the metabolic rate. Caloric burn during hot yoga is similar to that experienced during a brisk walk. Research shows that men burn about 460 calories during a 90-minute hot yoga session; women burn about 330 calories during the same workout.
Hot yoga can be an effective tool for weight loss, but don’t expect the same caloric burn as a good run on the treadmill. Hot yoga does burn more calories than regular yoga due to the longer sessions (90 minutes vs. 60 and the slightly lower intensity of regular yoga). Consider alternating hot yoga with higher intensity cardio workouts.
Is Hot Yoga Safe?
Many people enjoy hot yoga, finding it very invigorating. If you’re a fan, keep at it, but make sure you do so safely. Hot yoga can induce sweating, and lots of it. This can deplete stores of potassium, sodium, and water in the body. Maintaining hydration is a must, but water alone may not cut it. You’ll need to replace the minerals that you sweat out by making sure to take in extra electrolytes.
When practicing hot yoga, pay careful attention to the way your body feels. If you notice yourself feeling nauseous, light headed, or confused, take a break. Muscle cramping is another sign that you need to stop. When you’re just starting out, take it easy. Your body needs time to adjust to the challenge of hot yoga.
Can Regular Yoga Help Me Lose Weight?
Don’t count regular yoga out of your weight loss plan. Gentle, regular yoga can help you to drop pounds and lose weight. One study of 15,000 overweight adults in their 50s found that those who did yoga at least once a week lost an average of 5 pounds; those who didn’t do yoga gained an average of more than 13 pounds. Yoga might not be as intense as cardio, making it a more approachable workout option for many men and women.
Break It Down For Me – Hot Yoga or Regular Yoga?
Which type of yoga is best: hot yoga or regular yoga? Both types of yoga do little for the metabolic rate, but they are still excellent options for getting in shape. The best type of yoga for you is the yoga you enjoy and will actually do!
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