Exercise is an integral part of the world of health and wellness. From Crossfit to weightlifting, cardio to yoga, there are plenty of ways to promote your body’s overall well-being and strength.
Perhaps you love yoga but want to add something else to your routine. Or, maybe you enjoy heart-pumping cardio sessions and weight training but want to incorporate something different. Either way, you may be questioning the logistics of doing yoga alongside working out.
Which one should you do first? Does it matter? In a nutshell, it depends on several factors. We’re here to explain, so continue reading to learn more!
Can I Do Yoga And Workout On The Same Day?
Absolutely, you can do yoga and get in a good workout on the same day. Despite the widespread belief that you shouldn’t do yoga with any other workout regime, combining the two can be ideal.
For example, you could go on a run or complete a weightlifting session in the morning. During your workout, you’ll warm up your muscles thoroughly, which is a great way to prepare for yoga.
Once you’re done, complete your yoga routine to stretch and loosen your muscles and target different aspects of your overall fitness.
Listen To Your Body
If you’re new to yoga or a particular workout style, start out slow and don’t overwork yourself. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Once you acclimate to your new workout regime, you can up the intensity and overall difficulty of your routine.
The muscles you target in your sessions need at least 48 to 72 hours of rest time to repair and replenish, so avoid focusing on the same muscle group every single day. Your body needs time to recover, especially if you’re new to regular exercise.
Pay Attention To Your Goals
The combination of your regime hinges on your fitness goals. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, incorporate yoga and your workout of choice in 3 to 4 intense sessions every week.
If you’re just starting, you might want to start with 3 to 4 light to moderate sessions per week, then increase the intensity based on how you feel. You can arrange the sessions however you’d like – you could do yoga in the morning to start your day, with weight training later in the day. Or flip the board and do it the opposite way.
On the other hand, if your goal is to improve your overall fitness, practice yoga in the morning after walking or any cardio activity. Add weight training or resistance training a few times per week.
Should I Do Yoga Before Or After My Workout?
As we mentioned earlier, the arrangement of your exercise routine hinges on a few factors. That said, it’s recommended that you do yoga after your workout, especially if you’re doing high-impact activities (running, HIIT, etc.) or lifting heavy.
Why is that? The reasoning behind the specific arrangement is due to the nature of your body. When you exercise, your muscles, fascia, and other tissues weaken after you finish your workout. This holds true for intense exercise, including yoga classes that include deep stretching and advanced poses (like Ashtanga or Vinyasa).
As a result, your body’s damaged tissues have a tougher time, as your ability to exercise at peak performance is diminished. This isn’t ideal for harsher regimes, like heavy lifting or high-impact activities.
So, why can it be a problem? Your muscle strength is measured by the muscle’s ability to contract. This is true of many exercise regimes, like weight lifting or HIIT. Yoga stretches the muscles and the fascia, targeting a different side of your fitness entirely.
After you finish a yoga session, your muscles can take a few hours to recover and regain their ability to contract fully. The recovery time frame may be longer when you participate in intense yoga classes with deep, prolonged stretching.
So, if you want to do yoga and a workout right after the other, it’s usually best to do your workout first. That way, you won’t experience a noticeable dip in performance through your training. Bonus: your muscles will be warm and ready to stretch when you start your yoga session.
Can I Do Yoga Before My Workout?
Certainly, you could do yoga before your workout. However, if you decide to do yoga before an intense workout, try to avoid long, deep stretches that extend and stretch your muscles. Instead, focus on dynamic stretches and poses that keep you moving and warm up your body.
You can use yoga as a warmup for your workout, but be sure to do poses that prepare you for your workout by elevating your heart rate and warming your muscles. Avoid the poses and stretches you’d typically do after a workout, like deep or static stretching, as these can hinder your performance instead of helping it.
Benefits Of Practicing Yoga Post-Workout
While you can undoubtedly incorporate yoga into your regime as a warmup or the workout itself, you may notice better results when practicing yoga after your workout. Many folks find yoga especially beneficial after yoga, as it helps them seamlessly transition from a high-intensity workout to a regular resting period.
Aside from that, here are a few additional benefits:
Slows Your Heart Rate
Your heart rate rises during your workout, especially during intense or high-energy regimes. After you finish, your heart rate remains relatively high, eventually slowing down as you cease exercising. Yoga helps bring your heart rate down, restoring it to its natural resting state.
Through deep, steady breathing during yoga, you activate your body’s vagus nerve. This is an integral part of your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you conserve energy by slowing your heart rate.
The behavior opposes your sympathetic nervous system, which you trigger when you exercise and generate stress responses. After a yoga session with deep, steady breathing, you slow your heart rate, decrease your blood pressure, and restore your body to its natural resting state.
Flexibility is something millions of people struggle with. Many folks are so focused on the contracting side of things, often forgetting to stretch and elongate their muscles. Yoga is an excellent way to incorporate this.
Your muscles are composed of interlocking fibers. When you contract your muscles, these fibers pass next to each other to shorten the muscle. In some cases, your muscles may remain contracted after your workout, leaving your body feeling stiff, sore, and tight.
When you add yoga into the mix, you stretch out all of your muscles. This helps realign the fibers, allowing the muscles to heal faster and more effectively. With regular practice, yoga helps improve flexibility. In turn, flexible muscles are less prone to injury and put less pressure on your joints. So, it’s a win-win!
Accelerates Muscle Recovery
Yoga is an outstanding way to help your muscles recover after a workout. How? Yoga increases the blood flow to your muscles, in turn delivering vital nutrients and oxygen to your active tissues. This helps accelerate the healing process, as these are crucial to healing muscles after intense training sessions.