WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Practising yoga can enhance a workout but it is an inadequate substitute for vigorous exercise such as aerobics, according to a study.
Yoga offers less than half the physical benefits of even a light to moderate walk, the study by researchers at Texas State University concluded.
“Yoga's a good form for flexibility and muscular fitness, but it's not so good for weight loss and aerobic conditioning,” said Lisa Lloyd, an assistant professor of health, physical education and recreation at Texas State.
“Unfortunately, the general public doesn't realise it's a good supplemental exercise, but shouldn't be someone's sole activity,” Lloyd said in a written statement on Thursday.
The eight-week study, to be published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, was spurred by the growing popularity of yoga and a concern by the researchers that too many people may forego tougher physical fitness activities thinking that yoga alone is enough to improve their health.
The study compared the energy consumption of a 30-minute yoga session versus a light walk on a treadmill.
Lloyd and coauthor Carolyn Clay said they found that “hatha” yoga -- the term for the physical elements of yoga -- is not nearly as beneficial as aerobic exercise for cardiovascular conditioning, muscular development or weight loss.
Although a yoga routine produced high heart rates in the 30 college-age women who participated in the study, Lloyd said that may be a result of holding the same position for a long time.