Staying active is one of the top things you can do to look and feel great. Some days you can’t choose between the endorphin rush and metabolism boost you get from running, and the calmness and flexibility yoga gives you. When you want a good sweat followed by a good stretch, can you do yoga and cardio on the same day?
Both gentle yoga and cardio are important for peak health and fitness, and they can be complementary when done on the same day. Gentle yoga and cardio are two different types of exercise, with different effects on the body. Yoga improves strength and flexibility, and cardio promotes heart health.
So, doubling up your active time by doing yoga and cardio on the same day can be good for you. Though, if you’re after only fitness and wellbeing gains and not losses, you need to keep a few pointers in mind when tackling two-a-day workouts. Let’s look at the perks and pitfalls of doing yoga and cardio on the same day.
Is It Okay To Do Yoga And Cardio On The Same Day?
Experts warn against doing two workouts a day if the workouts are similar or both strenuous (say, road running in the morning and treadmill running in the eve). Gentle yoga and cardio, however, have different intensities and work your body in different ways, making them generally safe to do on the same day.
Cardio workouts make your heart pump faster, get you breathing deeper, and put your muscles to work. This type of exercise varies in intensity from moderate (like fast walking or swimming) to vigorous (think: running, speedy stair-climbing, or cycling), and its main benefit is keeping your heart and arteries healthy.
Gentle yoga is classified as low-intensity strength and flexibility exercise. It strengthens and stretches your muscles, makes you more flexible, improves your posture, and helps you keep your balance.
Is It Good To Do Yoga And Cardio On The Same Day?
Not only is it okay; it can be good for you to do yoga and cardio on the same day.
Doing vigorous cardio makes you fitter, but it also puts physical stress on your body. To cope with the stress, you need to rest and recover between your heart-pumping workouts. Resting doesn’t mean sitting with your feet up, though. (Unless you want to.)
Doing light exercise, like gentle yoga, can actually speed up your recovery. This is called active recovery.
Active recovery can help you bounce back from intense exercise. It does this by reducing lactic acid build-up in your muscles (so they can power through your next big workout), making your muscles less sore and more flexible, eliminating toxins, and keeping blood flowing throughout your body.
Gentle yoga is an excellent choice for active recovery. This low-impact (easy on joints), light exercise calms and clears your mind, loosens tight muscles, boosts circulation, helps reduce inflammation – and all these benefits in as few as 10 to 15 minutes of practice.
So, yoga can gently lift your mind and body after a tough workout.
Are Some Types Of Yoga Considered Cardio?
The most popular type of yoga, Hatha, involves slowly moving your body into and holding different poses. Many other types of yoga include these Hatha poses; all that changes is the sequence and pace of the poses. The faster you move from pose to pose, the faster your heart beats, the more intense the exercise.
The gentle, slow types of yoga, like Hatha, don’t get your heart rate high enough to be counted as cardio exercise. Instead, gentle yoga is thought of as light activity. Bikram (performed in a heated room to get you sweaty) and Power yoga are faster and more demanding on your body.
Then there’s cardio yoga, a fast-paced, dynamic yoga-inspired workout that gives you a cardio boost. Instructors pick and choose the movements and sequences to create a more intense form of yoga that gives you all the usual benefits while also getting your heart pumping.
While cardio yoga is higher in intensity than basic yoga, it’s not as vigorous a workout as, say, running. During a cardio yoga class, you’d exert yourself about as much as you would while putting in moderate effort on an elliptical machine.
The Best Type Of Yoga To Do On The Same Day As Cardio
To prevent burnout while doing two workouts a day, make sure only one is high intensity.
If you’ll be doing a vigorous cardio session, keep your yoga session relaxed. If your cardio will be light to moderate, you can up the intensity of your yoga workout.
Should You Do Yoga Or Cardio First?
Plan your day to do the higher-intensity workout first and the lower-intensity one later.
So, if you’ll do a HIIT class in the morning, you could wind down the day with a chilled yoga session. Or you could switch things around by starting your day with cardio yoga and ending it witha walk.
The secret is to pair earlier higher-intensity exercise with later lower-intensity exercise to help you recover. It’ll also be easier to tackle a challenging workout when you’re fresh.
Tip: Tend to skimp on stretching after your cardio workout? Doing a recovery yoga session later in the day can give your hardworking muscles the good stretch they deserve.
How To Safely Do Yoga And Cardio On The Same Day
Ready to double up your workouts? First, check your lifestyle. To stay healthy while you’re super active, you’ll need to look after your body by sleeping enough, eating plenty of nutrient-rich foods, and staying hydrated.
It’s best to keep the two-a-day workouts as an occasional thing. Start with once a week and add another one or two double sessions only once your body is used to the extra demands.
Ask a professional trainer for guidance if you’re unsure how to create a workout routine to maximize your fitness gains while minimizing your injury and burnout risk.
Top priority? Pay attention to how you’re feeling and rest when your body tells you to.
Should You Do Yoga And Cardio On The Same Day?
Whether doing yoga and cardio on the same day will make your life any better depends on your fitness level, exercise goals, eating habits, sleep schedule, and available time.
If you’re healthy, fit, and have time to spare, give a double workout a go and see how your body responds. Track your progress to see if a yoga-cardio combo gives you the results you want.
Who Shouldn’t Do Yoga And Cardio On The Same Day?
Hold off the two-a-day workouts if you’re very unfit, new to exercise, injured, or in pain.
Even if you’re a gym fanatic, if you’ve been pushing yourself hard recently and are feeling exhausted, it’s time to cut back, not double up, on the exercise. Consider taking a day’s break from working out to help your mind and body recharge.
You’ll know you need restorative downtime if you’re sore all over, struggle to sleep, feel tired when doing your normal daily activities, and dread working out.
Read my article about 6 Ways To Make Your Yoga Routine Actually Stick
When choosing your exercise for the day, you don’t have to pick between cardio, flexibility, and strength benefits – you can have them all.
If two-a-day workouts work with your schedule and lifestyle, give a day of yoga and cardio a go – just as long as you rest when you need to.