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Know Your Workout: How to Choose the One That Fits Your Needs?

Cardio, yoga, pilates – what should you do when exercising? Here’s how to decide your workout routine.

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Yes, we’ve all heard enough number of times how important exercise is for good health. And even though companies cash in on this a lot, for once it’s more than just a marketing gimmick.

What most don’t know enough about is what exactly to do when they’re exercising. There are so many different forms today – cardio, weights, pilates – how is one supposed to choose? What are the benefits of each of these?

Not every type of exercise gives you the same results. Each of one them has a different purpose. For example running will not make your back stronger, but it’ll be good for your heart and burning calories. So how do you decide what to include in your workout routine?

Too caught up to read? Listen to the story here:

Well, it’s a simple 4-step process.

  1. Know what your goal is.
  2. Understand what form of exercise will benefit you and how.
  3. Choose the ones which fit your need.
  4. Then do it.

Set Your Goal

Exercising is not just for weight loss. In fact, let me rephrase - it’s mostly not for weight loss. 80 percent of weight loss has to do with what you eat and only 20 percent is exercise.

But there is a gamut of health benefits that working out offers. From keeping diseases at bay to building strength, exercising to stay fit is more than just a number on the weighing scale.

Cardio, yoga, pilates – what should you do when exercising? Here’s how to decide your workout routine.
Let’s see how much you know about weight loss!
(Photo: iStock)

So before you start exercising you should know what you’re doing it for and what your goal is.

Is it the back pain that you want to reduce? Or growing risk of heart disease that you want to keep at bay? Or it may well be to get your body in shape.

Setting your goal is the first step because that will decide your workout routine.

Cardio, Yoga, Pilates – What to Include in Your Workout?

If you’re blindly doing anything for the sake of exercising, you’re wasting your time. Do you do a couple of minutes of this and a couple minutes of that to make yourself feel like you’re “working out” and feel good about it? Hate to burst your bubble, but it’s not helping you.

Cardio, yoga, pilates – what should you do when exercising? Here’s how to decide your workout routine.
Working out is not just about weight loss.
(Photo: iStock)

Every exercise has a specific benefit and should be done for a certain time period. So to help you understand these benefits we spoke to Holistic Fitness Expert Vesna Jacob and looked at various studies. Here’s what we know about the different forms of exercises.

1. Cardio

Cardio is for your heart and as a result, burning calories. For a healthy and strong heart, doctors recommend walking daily for at least 45 minutes or 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at least fives times a week.

Cardio makes your heart race and beat faster, giving it a good exercise. 
Cardio, yoga, pilates – what should you do when exercising? Here’s how to decide your workout routine.
Cardio makes your heart race and beat faster, giving it a good exercise. 
(Photo: iStock)

Any considerable calorie burning is above and beyond a basic cardio session (this includes running or walking). It’s just to start things up and warm you up for higher intensity workouts if you’re looking at losing weight.

Sample this, on an average you burn 300 calories in an hour of a moderate gym session. While you’ll consume the same amount of calories by eating just half a burger or a samosa.

And that is the reason you don’t see yourself losing weight even after joining the gym. We eat much more than we can burn by moderate amount of cardio.

2. Weight Training

Weight training is for building strength. Adding weights to your workout routine will lead to stronger muscles and bones, reducing the risk of injury.
Cardio, yoga, pilates – what should you do when exercising? Here’s how to decide your workout routine.
Weight training doesn’t mean that you’ve to bulk up.
(Photo: iStock)

And no, weight training doesn’t mean that you’ve to become a body building hound and bulk up. Building huge muscles is intentional and takes a great amount of work, following a weight-gain diet and taking supplements.

Lifting weights moderately and eating a healthy diet will result in a fit and lean body, not a big and bulky one.

3. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of cardio training. It refers to a technique in which you do short periods of high intensity exercise followed by less intense rest and keep alternating this.

HIIT helps you build endurance and better stamina. And studies also say it’s a better and faster way to burn calories.
Cardio, yoga, pilates – what should you do when exercising? Here’s how to decide your workout routine.
HIIT helps you build endurance and better stamina.
(Photo: iStock)

These exercises can be of various types depending on which area of your body you want to target. To give an example, a lower-body interval workout where you sprint for 30 secs, do squat jumps for 45 secs, do 20 lunges, 50 calf raises, rest for a minute and repeat.

4. Yoga

Yoga is more of a holistic experience. It includes meditation, breathing exercises, as well as physical asanas.

So if you talk about the physical form of yoga, including new age variations like power yoga, it aims to keep your overall body fit and strong. Yoga postures keep your joints, back, neck, all in good shape. Thus, preventing pain.
Cardio, yoga, pilates – what should you do when exercising? Here’s how to decide your workout routine.
Yoga is not for weight loss.
(Photo: iStock)

It also is said to heal internal problems, like building immunity, aiding fertility, and keeping diseases at bay.

Yoga is not for weight loss. You may lose weight in the process but it’s not the aim.

5. Pilates

Pilates helps you build a stronger core. This means that it increases muscle strength and tone of your core muscles – abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks. It also improves flexibility and body control.
Cardio, yoga, pilates – what should you do when exercising? Here’s how to decide your workout routine.
Several sportspersons and celebrities go for pilates as it improves performance and prevents injuries. 
(Photo: iStock)

Many pilates exercises are very similar to corresponding yoga postures. While pilates can include working out on specific machines, it can also be done at home without anything but a floor and a mat. It includes very targeted exercises for different body parts. Therefore, you see results quicker without tiring yourself too much.

Several sportspersons and celebrities go for pilates as it improves performance and prevents injuries. Also, if you’re one with flat belly aspirations, try out pilates.

Now that you know the benefits of different exercises, make the most of your workout time. Happy exercising!

(Join us on our weight loss journey with top nutritionists guiding us all the way. Our Facebook community invites you to share tips, success stories and results by simply clicking here. You can also reach out to us on fit@thequint.com or simply comment below.)

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