Yoga is the ultimate form of mind-body fitness. Depending on what style you practice, you can work your strength, build cardiovascular endurance and increase flexibility.
However, doing the same routine all the time can leave you with workout burnout. Introducing some variety can greatly increase your fitness enjoyment. Here are seven exercises that are excellent complements to a regular yoga routine.
There’s something liberating about running. It’s a glorious exercise form if you have anxiety — going for a brisk jog satisfies your body’s fight-or-flight response, keeping your cortisol levels in check. An excess of this stress hormone can cause changes in appetite that drive you to overeat or neglect your nutritional needs.
Best of all, running requires no special equipment or gym membership. However, you should invest in a quality, well-fitted pair of shoes. Go to the shop and have a pro measure your foot instead of ordering online, at least until you find a style and brand you trust.
If you are a yin yoga enthusiast, release your yang energy in this fast-paced turbocharged workout that will have you sweating up a storm. You’ll appreciate your quiet time on the mat all the more after one of these workouts.
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, provides maximum cardiovascular benefits in a minimum amount of time. You push your heart rate to the limit while enjoying brief periods of rest in between. Some classes even incorporate an element of strength with moves like thrusters, fulfilling your resistance training requirement.
3. Cross-Country Skiing
Cross-country skiing is a torch. A 150-pound person working at a slow pace will burn 460 calories an hour, enough to eliminate that grande burrito.
This exercise form is also ideal for those with achy joints. It provides a weight-bearing workout with zero impact, increasing bone density without aggravating conditions like arthritis. However, it will supercharge your endurance and stamina, getting your heart pumping like you’re sprinting without putting undue pressure on your knees.
Biking might be the ultimate cross-training activity if you’re as eco-conscious as you are a yoga enthusiast. You can decrease your carbon footprint by using your wheels to run errands. You double-down on efficiency, getting in a workout while completing chores like visiting the farmers market.
If you live close to the office, why not use your bike to commute? Perhaps your new hybrid schedule provides the perfect cross-training opportunity. Ride your bicycle to work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and hit the Ashtanga studio on the days in between.
Hiking complements the zen experience you have on the yoga mat. Getting out in nature helps relax you and induce a calm state of mind. It can also help boost your immune function, helpful anytime — especially amid a pandemic.
Researchers discovered that trees and other plants emit chemicals called phytoncides as defense mechanisms. When human beings inhale these substances, it kicks their immune system into high gear, increasing the number and activity in natural killer cells. Plus, you can always strike a pose anywhere you find a flat enough spot — a nice hike complemented by a bit of yoga in the forest is nearly guaranteed to bust any blue mood.
6. Weight Training
If you’re a hardcore yogi, you might shy away from the weight room out of fear that bulky muscles will make it more challenging to get in certain poses. Banish that idea from your mental space immediately. How big you get depends on how much you lift — but everyone benefits from routine resistance training.
If bulk still keeps you away from that stack of dumbbells, don’t despair. You can get everything you need from an inexpensive set of resistance bands, and they slip into your suitcase to make travel workouts a snap.
If Alzheimer’s disease runs in your family, you might select dance to complement your regular yoga routine. Researchers investigated the impact of various activities on cognitive ability. They discovered that dance’s unique combination of following the steps combined with physical activity helped increase your brain’s neuroplasticity. When this occurs, you form new connections, keeping your mental processes sharp.
Finding the Right Exercise to Complement Your Yoga Routine
Doing the same thing every day can eventually lead to burnout. Complement your regular yoga routine with a few new exercises and reap even greater health and fitness benefits for your body!