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Yoga vs Pilates: Which to choose based on your fitness goalsMarch 1, 2012 | written by trainer

Over the past few years both power yoga and Pilates have become popular fitness crazes. There is some debate over which is more beneficial, among people looking to perfect their exercise regime. Power yoga, a fast paced version of traditional yoga, aims to improve flexibility, mental clarity, and endurance.  Pilates is aims to strengthen, lengthen, and define muscles, while working on posture and breathing. Although the two forms of exercise have many similarities, each has a different focus. Choosing the one which is best for you will depend on your specific fitness goals.
Weight loss

Both power yoga and Pilates have a relatively low cardio output. At a moderate intensity, neither is likely to raise your heart rate beyond that of walking speed. However, at a high intensity, power yoga will burn around 250 calories per hour, and an advanced Pilates class can burn up to 350. Pilates is more effective for those trying to drop pounds, but ideally both should be combined with an exercise like jogging if you’re looking for serious weight loss.

Mental Wellbeing

If you are searching for a form of exercise that will improve your overall wellbeing, then yoga is by far the most likely to help. By focusing on breathing techniques and inner peace, yoga has been shown to lower the levels of stress hormones within the body after just one session. If you are interested in the stress relieving aspects of yoga, look for a class that focuses heavily on meditation.

Strength

The foremost aim of Pilates is physical conditioning with a specific focus on core strength. This contrasts with power yoga which is primarily a spirituality and flexibility exercise. This means that if you are trying to build strength, you are probably best off choosing Pilates. Machine-based Pilates in particular has a lot in common with weight training, and it incorporates moves like squats and cable pulls.

Flexibility

Flexibility is often the most overlooked element of overall fitness. Even though it may seem less important than cardiovascular health or muscle definition, it can improve posture, reduce soreness, and decrease your risk of training injury. While Pilates is effective at increasing flexibility in the back and hips, improvements are not as pronounced as those you will see in muscle conditioning. Power yoga involves smoothly moving between different positions that challenge your body’s flexibility. Flexibility increases drastically after just a few weeks of this power form of yoga.

Power yoga and Pilates each have benefits, and the best one for you will depend on your primary fitness aims. Yoga is best if you seeking to become calmer, more limber, and more in touch with your body. If your primary goal is weight loss, muscle tone, and improved appearance, then Pilates is ideal.

These two forms of exercise needn’t be mutually exclusive. They complement each other very well and are both great at improving your mental and physical wellbeing. For an all-round fitness regime try to incorporate some sort of aerobic activity such as running, jogging, swimming, or cycling.

 

 

 

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