Hot Yoga vs. Running: Is One Better?

Exercise is essential for a healthy body and mind, especially due to common sedentary lifestyles. It helps us keep our mobility, flexibility, strength, and endurance as we age, so it plays a vital role in our lives. Without regular activity and exercise, we may begin to notice the adverse effects of our lifestyle choices. 

But does it matter what type of exercise you do? How about hot yoga and running – is one better? Each option has its merits, so one isn’t necessarily better than the other. That said, one option might be better for you as an individual, so keep reading to learn more!

Can You Lose Weight With Hot Yoga?

Hot yoga can help you lose weight, as it’s an excellent form of exercise. For example, consider Bikram yoga, a type of hot yoga. In these classes, the studio is usually 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity or higher. On top of that, grueling yoga poses and constant movement will increase your heart rate and cause a steady burn in your muscles as they work. 

The combination of these aspects can help you burn quite a few calories in a single session, which contributes to weight loss. Ultimately, it comes down to your lifestyle as a whole. Exercise alone usually isn’t enough, as you can’t outwork a bad diet (without exercising constantly). 

On top of a healthy diet, you’ll also need to manage your stress levels and ensure you get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated, among other things. So, exercise is only one piece of the puzzle, and because of this, hot yoga might not help you lose weight without the other lifestyle changes in play. 

Hot Yoga vs. Running

Running has been a staple in the exercise world for decades. Folks have used it as a go-to form of cardio for a high-calorie burn in a short period. However, for some folks, running isn’t a feasible option. So, is hot yoga a comparable alternative? In the following sections, we compare these two options to help you decide which outlet is best for you. 

Weight Loss

For many people, weight loss is the reason they begin to exercise. However, once the weight comes off, many folks continue to exercise due to the abundant benefits. In this aspect, running might be the superior option. The reasoning behind this falls on calorie burn in a similar session length. 

An individual can often burn more calories in the same period when running than they could in a hot yoga session. Because of this, running might be more effective for weight loss. Of course, exercise alone often won’t do the trick, as it only comprises a piece of the puzzle. 

However, since folks can burn more in less time, running is usually better than hot yoga. On top of that, hot yoga classes cause folks to lose considerable amounts of fluids via sweat as their bodies attempt to cool off. Due to this aspect, hot yoga might not be feasible every day. 

On the other hand, many folks can run daily without issues. Although sweating is typical, you might not sweat as much while running as you would in hot yoga, as the temperature might not be as high. Of course, if you’re running outside on a scorching summer day, you’d likely sweat just as much, if not more, as you would in a hot yoga session. 

Calorie Burn

As mentioned, most people burn more calories while running than they do in a hot yoga class of the same length. Although this can vary based on the individual, this seems to be the most common outcome. 

For example, consider the calorie burn of a 150-pound person (the second example is based on a 155-pound person). The American Council on Exercise reports that a Bikram yoga session burns about 477 calories per hour. On the flip side, the American College of Sports Medicine reports that a leisurely jog (5 miles per hour or a 12-minute mile) burns approximately 563 calories per hour. If the individual ups the speed to 6 mph, they burn 704 calories per hour. 

So, running burns more calories than hot yoga, whether leisurely jogging or sprinting. 


Running is a high-impact exercise that can be hard on the joints. On the other hand, hot yoga is somewhat of a lower-impact exercise, as it doesn’t involve jumps or hard impacts on the ground. So, individuals who experience joint pain or similar conditions might find hot yoga the superior choice. 

Hot yoga allows individuals to incorporate an effective form of exercise into their routines without the harsh impact of running. So, if you experience joint pain, running might not be the best choice for you. 


Spending hours exercising isn’t feasible for many individuals, either due to a busy schedule or keeping up with family and friends. So, finding a form of exercise that allows you to get in and out without sacrificing efficacy is essential. 

Running might be a good alternative if you don’t have extra time to devote to a 60-minute or 90-minute hot yoga class. You can raise your heart rate and maintain it as you work, which will help you burn more calories in less time. Of course, you can always choose a shorter hot yoga class, but you might not burn as many calories as you would running for the same amount of time. 


Exercise is beneficial on various fronts, from mental health to physical health. Running and hot yoga offer many benefits, although the list of upsides looks different for each option. Here are a few notable benefits of running:

  • Excellent choice for individuals short on time
  • Easy to do wherever you are
  • Requires very little equipment or training
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Can lead to lower blood pressure
  • Improves blood sugar control
  • Can lower triglycerides and cholesterol
  • Can lower your resting heart rate
  • Can help with weight loss and body fat percentage

On the other hand, a few upsides of hot yoga include:

  • Effective low-impact option
  • Increased flexibility
  • Can help regulate blood glucose levels
  • Can improve mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety
  • Improves heart health
  • Improves lung capacity
  • Strengthens the entire body
  • Aids in balance 
  • Can help manage stress

Is Hot Yoga As Good As Cardio?

Hot yoga and cardio (running, biking, skipping, etc.) are entirely different forms of exercise. So, saying one is better than the other isn’t fair, as it isn’t a fair comparison. Each option has its merits, so while one might be better for some individuals, it might not work for others. 

For instance, let’s say you want to get your heart rate up without the impact of running. Hot yoga might be a good option, as the heat, humidity, and constant movement drive your heart rate up. Although your heart rate might not rise as high as it would on a run, it can be an excellent way to incorporate exercise. 

On the flip side, let’s say you want a short workout where you burn a high number of calories. In this case, running might be a great option, as it raises your heart rate rapidly and keeps it there. This allows you to burn more calories in a shorter period, so if that is what you’re going for, this might be the best option. 

Can I Run And Do Hot Yoga?

Combining running and hot yoga in your exercise routine is an excellent way to ward off boredom, as it keeps your routine fresh. That said, paying attention to your body is essential, especially if you’re new to running or hot yoga (or both). 

Your body might not be ready for the added intensity of both styles in your routine, so be sure to take it slow. Remember to take rest days as you need them, as pushing your body too hard can lead to adverse health effects and potential injuries. 

On top of that, it’s essential to fuel your body correctly. Both types of exercise burn considerable calories, so ensure you eat enough to fuel your body through your routine. Avoid eating large meals right before running or participating in a hot yoga class, as this can make you feel nauseous. That said, a small snack about an hour before exercising can help you feel energized and ready to tackle your workout. 

In addition, hydration is imperative, especially for hot yoga. You’ll likely lose a considerable amount of fluids via sweat when you participate in hot yoga (or run in the scorching heat), so drink plenty of water. You can add an electrolyte mix to your water or incorporate a few low-calorie sports drinks packed with electrolytes to help ward off dehydration, as water might not be enough in some cases.