Calories for Yoga vs other stuff.

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Might be a stupid question, but I don't understand why yoga burns so few calories. If you haven't done it, then you don't understand the question and I'd appreciate no comments. But, if you have, or do, what gives? An hour of yoga and I'm sweating like I ran 5 miles. But, it only burns like 150 calories or whatever. The calorie burn is not accurate just going off websites.

Is sweat not an indicator of calorie burn? Again, might be a stupid question, but I don't understand the relationship, I guess between sweat and calories burned.

I'm a power lifter, and I also run for cardio. I do yoga ocassionally for flexibility, but this low cal burn for yoga is a bit perplexing based on the amount of sweat I'm dripping in.

Thanks.

Replies

  • debi_f
    debi_f Posts: 330 Member
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    I'd like to see this, too. I don't do Yoga, but Pilates kicks my bum 3-4 times a week!
  • yogicarl
    yogicarl Posts: 1,260 Member
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    The amount of sweat you are experiencing could be down to the intensity of holding a strenuous position for an extended time - for example holding Chaturanga Dandasana - but not demanding in a cardio sense and so therefore not burning so many calories; hence the low calorie burn.

    Alternatively you may be doing a session of Yoga where you are doing a lot of flowing from one position to another - for example flowing through a session of Sun Salutations, which is more aerobically demanding; hence a much higher calorie burn.

    Typically the first example will burn 100-200 calories whereas the second example will burn around 400-500. Both will soak your mat with sweat!
  • sunglasses_and_ocean_waves
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    Jerry my guess is that your heart's not pounding around and you're not breathing like you're running uphill. I don't really think sweat counts. When I've done yoga, it's been more relaxing. Of course there's strength and balance involved, but lifting doesn't burn a heck of a lot either.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,737 Member
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    Might be a stupid question, but I don't understand why yoga burns so few calories. If you haven't done it, then you don't understand the question and I'd appreciate no comments. But, if you have, or do, what gives? An hour of yoga and I'm sweating like I ran 5 miles. But, it only burns like 150 calories or whatever. The calorie burn is not accurate just going off websites.

    Is sweat not an indicator of calorie burn? Again, might be a stupid question, but I don't understand the relationship, I guess between sweat and calories burned.

    I'm a power lifter, and I also run for cardio. I do yoga ocassionally for flexibility, but this low cal burn for yoga is a bit perplexing based on the amount of sweat I'm dripping in.

    Thanks.
    Sweat is for one main reason.......to cool the body down. Genetics will dictate how the body temperature reacts to any environment. Some people sweat eating hot peppers or before a test. That's not an indication of higher calorie burn. On average an hour of yoga for someone around 150lbs is about 300-350 calories burned. It's mostly isometric exercise so it's anaerobic in nature.
    So sweating for someone who works out is an indication for THEM that their intensity is higher than non exercise activity, but not always an indication that lots of calories are being burned.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition
  • donnace7
    donnace7 Posts: 147 Member
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    What I've noticed more about yoga than any other type of exercise I've done is that it makes more of a difference in the way you FEEL. It doesn't burn alot of calories, but it is still intense. At my age (45) I tend to get misc. aches and pains all over the place. In about 2 months of yoga, I've had knee, shoulder and back pain that I've been dealing with for years almost disappear. Its probably like working out with weights- the calorie burn is more in the long term with development of lean muscle and a decrease in fat. I guess my point is that the benefit is there, but not in a cardio calorie burn kind of way. (and I DESPISE weights- yoga is the first strength building exercise I've truly enjoyed).
  • donnace7
    donnace7 Posts: 147 Member
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    Also, I'm unfortunately one of these ladies who sweats if I'm just standing in 80 degrees, so it never even occurred to me that the amount of sweat would be related to calorie burn. That would be different for everyone.
  • bex4health
    bex4health Posts: 45 Member
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    I too was surprised to see how little calories are burned doing yoga. I thought mfp data bank underestimated this, because I too would be sweating and feeling like I just worked out. Then I got my hrm, did the same yoga dvds and found out I actually burned LESS then MFP estimated!!!! I do yoga flow so it's not a full on "relaxing" yoga dvd, it's hard work! Despite the lack of calorie burn I still feel yoga has been very beneficial in my life. It de-stresses me, teaches me breathing control when I'm working out hard core, and keeps me flexible. I just make sure I keep my diet more in check for the days I do yoga. Hot yoga on the other hand will kill some calories, but I hate it. I feel like I'm just trying to survive, and basically your body is too by killing all those calories to try and cool and and do the poses you're demanding from your body. I have done bikram yoga 10 times to give it my fair assessment and definitely not for me.
  • michellemybelll
    michellemybelll Posts: 2,228 Member
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    it depends entirely on the type, too. there are many different varieties of yoga. Jerry, the kind that you were doing - power vinyasa - is a much more aerobic-centered style, and i personally think burns more than the 150 cals/hour some of the websites claim.

    http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc <-- that's an alright calculator, though i'm leery to trust it as it doesn't have you select your sex. i think it over-estimates a bit too, so i definitely tend to knock of a hundred or two cals when i've used it. BUT, it does have options of a few different types of yoga: bikram, power, and vinyasa are the three i've used most on the website.