Pilates and yoga are both very popular forms of exercise, and they can both be extremely beneficial however, many people that are trying to start an exercise routine or add to their existing one wonder which activity is best for them.
To figure out which exercise is best for you, you’ll need to determine what your exercise goals are. Some people may even find that a mixture of Pilates and yoga is best for them.
What is Pilates?
Pilates is an exercise that many compare to aerobics. It is a system that often uses items like resistance bands to intensify workouts and movements instead of simply using your body weight.
For that reason, many term Pilates a type of resistance training. Pilates classes come in a variety of levels, but even beginner’s classes will get your heart rate up and make you break a sweat, especially if you’re new to the activity.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient Indian technique that focuses on obtaining physical and mental connectivity through a series of body movements or poses and meditation-like techniques. In yoga classes, you’ll first learn how to breathe properly while exercising to help you relax and hold the positions that are taught to you. Beginner’s yoga classes are often taken for relaxation purposes, though the movements are great for your body, and are actually leading to flexibility and toning. Power yoga or Bikram yoga, sometimes known as hot yoga, tends to be harder on your body, but will give you better physical results.
Are You Trying to Lose Weight?
If your main goal is weight loss and a lower body fat percentage, knowing whether to choose Pilates or yoga can be confusing. Both Pilates and yoga can help you burn calories and create a caloric deficit, which will result in weight loss. A strenuously paced Pilates class will probably help you burn between 350 and 500 calories. A power yoga class will likely help you burn between 250 and 400. While those numbers are similar, Pilates is likely the better exercise if your goal is to lose weight.
Do You Have Existing Health Issues?
If you have existing health issues, you should always talk to your doctor about changing your exercise routine. Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend a certain type of yoga or Pilates. People with serious health conditions that cannot overexert themselves should avoid Bikram yoga and hot yoga, as these types of yoga classes can elevate your heart rate quickly and put too much stress on your body. High-intensity Pilates classes should also be avoided unless approved by your doctor. Beginner’s Pilates or low-intensity Pilates classes will likely be okay for most people, as will basic yoga classes. Still, you should always seek your doctor’s approval.
Stress Reduction and Relaxation
All exercise can help you reduce stress and relax in the long run, but if your main goal is to feel more relaxed right after you exercise, yoga is likely the best activity for you. Yoga also teaches breathing techniques and promotes mental clarity in a way that Pilates does not. However, many people find that taking Pilates classes and yoga classes gives them the results they really want.
Pilates classes tend to better for losing weight and getting into shape, while yoga classes are generally better for stress reduction and overall relaxation. For example, some people take Pilates classes through the week and reserve the weekend for yoga. Others find that taking a light yoga class after a Pilates class helps them feel less stressed immediately. You might have to try a few different schedules to see what works best for you if you’re interested in doing both Pilates and yoga.
Pilates and Yoga Improve Body Awareness
Pilates and yoga both have the benefit of promoting body awareness, which can be beneficial for everybody. The importance of body awareness is something many traditional exercise programs don’t acknowledge. With Pilates and yoga, you’ll likely start to notice your posture, how you move your body and how you carry yourself in general more. This can lead to increased strength and fewer injuries, especially minor injuries like back problems from poor posture.
Marcela De Vivo is a yogi and freelance writer in Los Angeles. Her articles vary on topic from technology to how to maintain healthy hair. Fitness and meditation are two aspects of her life she is very dedicated to.