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Enhance Your Workouts With a Finale of Yoga

“Life is about using the whole box of crayons.” – RuPaul

When it comes to workout options, you have a figurative buffet of activities to choose from. There’s cycling, circuit training, running, rock climbing, hiking, swimming, dodgeball, yoga…I could go on. Most people take their empty plate (this plate being representative of their hour+ of free time) and beeline straight to their favorite activity. They load their plate full of cycling (or weight lifting or whatever they’re into) and call it a day.

While this is wonderful and you should always fill your plate with the healthy activities that you love the most, there are also benefits to be found in combining more than one style of workout consecutively. Mixing up your routine by adding a new element could be just what you need.

Case in point, yoga can be a delicious desert.

There are many exercise combos that will give you a little extra bang for your buck, but today we are going to focus on why yoga can be an excellent follow-up workout. Whether you are performing cardiovascular exercise or strength training, yoga can be the final ingredient that you need to balance your body after a high-intensity workout.

Most workouts can be broken down into being either cardiovascular, strength training or a combination of the two. Let’s take a look at how a finale of yoga can benefit each.

What are the benefits of a cardiovascular workout followed by yoga?

  • Cardio increases blood circulation which helps oxygen-rich blood flow to the extremities. It also  warms up the muscles better preparing you for your yoga practice.
  • Your warmed up muscles will help increase your flexibility, helping you get the full benefit of each yoga pose. Optimized flexibility will also increase your range of motion allowing for better mobility and decreased risk of injury.
  • While your heart rate will be brought up during your cardio workout, which will help you burn calories and increase stamina, yoga brings it down slowly and safely easing you into a more relaxed state like a warm bath.

The gist – Cardio will energize you and burn calories while yoga will bring your heart rate down and relax you.

What are the benefits of a strength training workout followed by yoga?

  • Lifting weights (especially with powerful movements) will activate your fast-twitch muscle fibers which helps you develop power and speed. Following that with the slow movements and steadily-held poses of yoga will activate your slow-twitch muscle fibers building endurance. This keeps both muscles types strong and balanced.
  • Yoga can also help to release the stress in the muscles which you’ve been contracting during the workout. After a workout, when muscles are in recovery mode, they tend to tighten up, exacerbating feelings of soreness. Yoga initiates slow, gentle stretching that will relieve that tight feeling and diffuse the pain.
  • Yoga helps you connect with your body and focus on maintaining it’s anatomically correct positions by keeping the body in neutral alignment. This emphasis helps add focus on creating muscle balance. Yoga teaches correct body posture which is fundamental to strength training. Yoga poses can help rebalance, realign and correct muscle imbalances in the body.

The gist – Strength training will build muscles and make you stronger and yoga will stretch, balance and rejuvenate you.

Many of these benefits are interchangeable and can be seen in either combination. Each practice also serves to enhance the other, which will all contribute to a stronger, healthier you! It’s also noteworthy to add that you may experience additional fatigue when you’re following up an intense workout with yoga. Always listen to your body and stop if you experience light-headedness or pain.

So the next time you visit your workout buffet, try to fully consider your options. Mix it up a little. While some days might be best with a plate full of your favorite spinn class or circuit training workout, others might be even nicer with an additional side of strong, rejuvenating yoga.

Ready to give it a try? You can start this Saturday by signing up for Paisley’s 90 minute spinn class or Justin’s 90 minute circuit training class and follow either with Ati’s 45 minute yoga. Give it a go! You just might love it. Keep up the great work!

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