Skip to main content

Yoga, Cardio, or Strength Training: Which Is Right for You?

An aspiring author and journalist, Kay is looking to help others learn and grow through exploring culture and hobbies.


Exercise for a Better Life

Let's face it—we all would like to look our best. In order to do that, we need to keep our bodies in the best physical condition possible. There are many different philosophies on just how to do that, and all of this mixed and conflicting information can be very confusing.

Through this article, I will attempt to try to wade through all the facts and myths, and compare the most popular schools of thought regarding styles of exercise. From there, it is up to you to decide which is best for you.

1. Yoga

Yoga has become widely accepted by fitness and health professionals alike as having many benefits to your body, weight loss goals, and even mental health. Some of the most common benefits of practicing yoga include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Better flexibility
  • Increased stamina
  • Better posture
  • Improved breathing techniques
  • Reduced Stress
  • Better cardiovascular health

One of the added benefits of yoga is that anyone can do it! There are instructional videos for the most inexperienced beginners, and with increased practice, there are videos that offer plenty of challenges as well. Additionally, many fitness centers and communities offer affordable classes if you'd like to meet with an instructor in person.

Yoga's Benefits and Drawbacks

While yoga does have an impressive amount of health benefits, many people have argued that the results are not as quick as they might be with other forms of exercise. On average, a 150-pound person will burn 150 calories with one hour of yoga practice. This may not seem like very much when compared to the fact that a person can burn over 300 calories walking one hour at 3 miles per hour.

Yoga Instructor Dana Edison, Director of Radius Yoga in Massachusetts, states, "Can yoga build muscle? Yes. Is it a fast-paced, power class aerobic? Sometimes. And can you sweat out water weight in a 105-degree room? Sure. But can the average overweight person effectively shed pounds through a one-size-fits-all physical yoga practice? Not realistically or safely."

Overall Impact of Yoga

Yoga has many health benefits, and the improvements to one's breathing, flexibility, and reportedly the gained benefit of 'mindfulness' can help anyone's overall physical and mental health. However, if you are looking to lose weight exclusively, this might not be the main form of exercise to use. But yoga can help your body improve in a variety of ways—so don't rule it out yet!

2. Cardio Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise has so many benefits, it may be difficult to name them all in this article alone. The argument from many fitness professionals who advocate for cardio is that the human body was meant to move. It is naturally what our body requires to look and feel our best.

After a cardio workout, the majority of participants reported that they felt relief from stress, had a largely increased metabolism, improved their confidence, and more. Some of cardio's proven benefits include, but are not at all limited to:

  • Stronger Heart and increased lung capacity
  • More energy and reduced fatigue throughout the day
  • Reduced stress
  • Lowered risk of some types of cancer
  • Improved sleep
  • Significant Weight Loss!

Improved CIrculation and Potential Weight Loss

Cardio is the best exercise to improve circulation throughout the body, alleviating many areas of stress and tension on the body from repeated daily activity (like back or neck tension from driving or sitting at a desk). Additionally, many weight-loss professionals strongly advocate for the addition of cardio to one's diet for the best weight-loss results in the best amount of time.

Overall Impact of Cardio

Cardio has multiple health benefits, but the greatest of which is its ability to help manage and maintain healthy body weight. Doing cardio in addition to a healthy diet can also ensure that you not only appear 'thin,' but help to maintain a proper body fat percentage as well.

Strength training helps build muscle.

Strength training helps build muscle.

3. Strength Training

Strength training has always been a popular form of exercise for anyone looking to increase muscle mass and gain physical strength. Once a style of working out reserved primarily for men, many personal trainers, and fitness experts have started to recommend strength training for women as well.

Yoga may help you to tone, cardio boosts your metabolism, and strength training? Well, it can do all that and more. Some of the benefits of strength training include, but of course are not limited to:

  • Increase bone density—bones lose density as we get older, and strength training helps prevent that
  • Increase energy and stamina
  • Increase physical strength and endurance
  • Manage your body weight and image
  • Increase your metabolism
  • Prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes
  • Sharpen focus for older participants

Mental and Physical Benefits

As we get older, we as humans lose muscle mass and bone density. Strength training can help to rebuild what we lose with age and keep our bodies in top physical condition. As with most forms of exercise, strength training can help alleviate stress and boost mood, which can help with mental health as well.

The additional benefits of strength training, however, come from the fact that muscle actually burns fat! Simply having an increased amount of muscle can burn calories throughout the day. While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how many calories, specialists argue that one pound of pure muscle can burn between 30–100 calories in a day, depending on your body type and metabolic rate.

Overall Impact of Strength Training

Strength training has similar benefits to yoga and cardio but has the additional benefits of creating hard or lean muscle which not only looks attractive on our bodies but also helps us to burn calories even when not working out.

It appears that adding strength training to your workout regimen may be the best way to lose weight; however, it truly depends on each individual's body type and how quickly one can put on muscle. Therefore, some may benefit from strength training quickly, while others may take more time and dedication to the practice.


It appears that yoga, cardiovascular exercise, and strength training all have a number of health benefits and can all help us get the body we want. However, each style appears to have its own pros and cons.

The conclusion is, there may not be only one style of exercise that is best for everyone. Each person is different, and what may work for one person may not be best for another. The best way to figure this out is to try out each form of exercise and find out what works best for you.

Many fitness professionals, health experts, and weight-loss advisers argue that it is not simply one type of exercise that makes a difference, but a combination of these styles which may have the best result on your body.

A little yoga here and there, cardio a few times a week, all mixed in with some strength training may work wonders on your circulatory system, immune system, energy levels, mental health, and more than anything, on how your body looks and feels overall. Try all three, and submit your feedback to let readers know what works for you!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Sandeep Rathore from New Delhi on September 29, 2015:

Great hub, indeed!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 18, 2015:

Great hub, KMS. Yoga have been doing wonders for my back since last fall, along with Pilates and water aerobics. Very informative and voted up for interesting!

Kay Plumeau (author) from New Jersey, USA on May 06, 2015:

Thank you! Yes I found personally and have gotten feedback from many people that a combination of all three forms of exercise have produced great results. Thank you for your feedback as well!

Christy Maria on May 05, 2015:


I personally enjoy doing all three of these types of workouts. Working out is so great because I feel so good about myself and have more confidence, and overall I just feel healthy. I enjoy taking time a couple times a week to rotate between yoga, cardio, or strength! Great article. Voting interesting, awesome, and useful.

Kiss andTales on May 05, 2015:

Hi yes to life ! I like your choice name to represent yourself.

Dianna Mendez on February 03, 2015:

Good explanation of these training exercises. I do a combo of cardio and strength training myself. The yoga video is a good one for beginners.

Kay Plumeau (author) from New Jersey, USA on January 16, 2015:

Thank you for your feedback! I feel the same way, and I try to incorporate all of these into my workout routines when I can. Thanks for commenting!

Yoleen Lucas from Big Island of Hawaii on January 16, 2015:

It's really best to do all of the above, to maintain your strength, flexibility, and stamina. A proper balance is necessary for overall health. Great article!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 14, 2015:

So perhaps we can choose one of the three for different days and get all of it in. Thanks for the explanations and pros and cons.

Kay Plumeau (author) from New Jersey, USA on January 14, 2015:

Thank you, I appreciate the feedback!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 13, 2015:

A great overview of the three types of training and how they may be used for benefit. Thanks