Yoga vs Gym: Which Is Your Go-To For A Fit Life?
It’s a bright, resplendent morning. The birds are chirping outside and you feel a rush of vigour coursing through your blood in your veins. It’s as if nature itself is beckoning you to indulge in some sort of physical activity and experience the thrill of the adrenaline rush.
You’re committed to trying it out — probably to reap some benefit of fitness unbeknownst to you. But something is bothering you. What should you attempt? A blissful session of serene asanas or an intensive cardio-based workout? Even though it may be akin to comparing apples to oranges, people have often mused which is the better way to go — yoga or gymming. Both have their own set of benefits and drawbacks and it is an apt knowledge of these that can help you make an informed decision.
Hatha yoga, more popularly and colloquially known as yoga, is one of the many forms of yoga inscribed in sacred texts of Hinduism. It alludes to various physical activities and exercises performed for the overall well-being of an individual.
It has a very rich history behind it — as it received patronage from several nobilities and aristocracies since ancient ages, before losing its sheen for quite some time, and then again amassing interest.
Modern yoga, which has been glamourized as a form of exercise, was first popularized by the yogis Yogendra and Kuvalayanda, among several others who were instrumental in establishing the first yoga institute. Since then, yoga has garnered significant attention because of the health benefits it renders. To commemorate this, the UN instituted that every year 21st of July would be celebrated as ‘International Yoga Day.’
Benefits of Yoga
Numerous health benefits can be attributed to yoga. Some of them comprise:
- It improves overall blood circulation in our body. As a result of manoeuvers like bending, twisting and relaxation there is greater availability of oxygen in RBCs (red blood cells) and blood flow also becomes smooth throughout our body, reaching all the vital organs.
- It is good for people with osteoporosis and arthritis. As many asanas incorporate weight-bearing, it can strengthen the bones which are vulnerable to weaken over time.
- Forget your meds, it’s an even better detoxing agent. It can drain lymph very efficiently and can aid in the production of WBCs (white blood cells) which fight against microbes and ameliorate our immune system, by cleansing the toxins.
- By lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels, it proves to be advantageous for those having high blood pressure and sugar. It encourages weight loss and also safeguards the heart and kidneys against the hazards of high BP.
- Got jangled nerves? Are you facing anxiety issues? Yeah, yoga can also act as a great stress-buster. Meditative poses can help soothe erratic stimuli and also cure insomnia.
- The flexibility factor can work wonders in easing your pain and also grant you a good posture, something which we all desire in today’s workaholic world, which leaves us jaded.
Gym, an abbreviation for the Greek word gymnasium (which means training arena for competitors of public sports), is typically a fitness centre where people may train or exercise for athleticism.
Modern gyms house many apparatus and exercising equipment and machinery which are used to do workouts both extensively and intensively. It is also commonly known as a health club.
Gymming culture doesn’t incorporate any one particular category of exercising — it is a combination of several of them. But all these come under the umbrella banner of weight training or strength training, which comprise lifting weights against the force of gravity in the form of resistance to strengthen muscles and the skeletal system.
Who All Are Eligible To Do Yoga & Gym?
Yoga has a very soothing effect on the body and is also quite gentler in terms of the effort exerted (even though complex poses like Asthavakrasana (eight-angled pose) or Dhanurasana (bow pose) may have a taxing effect on the body). It is thus suitable for everyone, regardless of age and fitness level, and it can improve the overall flexibility and shape of the body.
In contrast, gymming typically focuses on bulking mass and muscle and enhancing strength and physique by weight training. So, it is typically associated with adults and younger people, preferably in their twenties or thirties.
Benefits of Gym
If incrementing bone health and muscle mass is your primary objective, then the gym’s an apt pick. According to Harvard Health Publishing, we start losing 3 to 5 % lean muscle mass per decade, due to ageing. Sounds woeful, doesn’t it? Well, there’s another study by the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research that states that thirty minutes of an intensive cardio workout at least twice a week, can improve bone density, structure etc., remarkably.
Another avenue where gymming has an upper hand is its ability to rapidly make us lose belly weight, burn calories, just by following a simple postulate — utilizing the body’s stored energy.
- Strength training has also the potential to succour in the management of chronic diseases like neuromuscular disorder or even HIV.
Much of the other benefits are very closely linked with what yoga offers too such as → better body coordination, releasing endorphins into the bloodstream for mood upliftment, et cetera.
Some Celebrities Who Practise Yoga
Robert Downey Jr.
Yes, you heard it right! Our beloved Iron Man claims to practise power-flow yoga, which helped him overcome his addictions (he was an alcoholic once) and strike a balance between spirituality and mentality.
The quirky Rachel Greene from F.R.I.E.N.D.S., incorporates high-intensity yogic exercises among workouts regularly. No wonder, she looks so young and still beautiful at fifty-one!
One of the most legendary footballers of modern times, the King of Crosses too cites yoga as one of the primary reasons that he stays fit.
Celebs Hitting The Gym
This man surely needs no introduction. A former bodybuilder and currently a polymath (actor, producer, businessman & politician) – he’s every gym freak’s idol.
Known endearingly as “The Rock”, he has indeed rocked the stages of professional wrestling before venturing into acting and possessing a physique that many can only dream or aspire to have one day.
So Which’s The Better Pick?
As aforementioned earlier, it is outright imbecilic to measure both on the same standard or basis. Adjudication can, however, be made on some other set parameters like suitability and niche boons that they provide.
Yoga is the clear winner when it comes to eligibility criteria. It can serve people irrespective of any biological differences. Whereas this is not the case at all with gymming, which is suitable mostly for the youth and only for a fewer section of the older people. Yoga doesn’t require any budget or equipment, to begin with.
There’s also one major aspect that yoga emphasizes a lot — mental health, in a way that gymming can never fulfil. It infuses tranquillity and serenity in our ambience and consequently, can feel more blissful. Additionally, it has been found that those who do yoga don’t feel as hungry as those who do resistance training.
As for getting those six-pack abs and lean, lithe, muscular physique that many people croon over – gymming, of course, gets the upper hand, because of its characteristic features of using weights distributed in the form of dumbbells, barbell rods etc. to tone the body.
So, it all eventually boils down to your requirements and there can never be a 0clear-cut comparison between the two. Choose whatever suits you best and don’t forget to enjoy the process.