So you want to start exercising, but feel yoga is not for you? Here are some other alternatives that can be just as beneficial.
Yoga has become very popular in recent times and it seems like a new yoga studio is opening every other day.
However, yoga may not be suitable for everyone. In this post, we will list the best alternative to yoga.
Best Yoga Alternatives
When you first read the word ballet, you would think of your childhood. Many of us went to a ballet class when we were little children.
Does that stop us from going now that we are old? Absolutely not. You might ask what does ballet has to do with yoga, but in fact, they are pretty close.
Ballet is a form of dancing that has many great and similar benefits to yoga. Most importantly, people who practiced ballet found out that after each class, they feel happy.
Just imagine yourself dancing while listening to your favorite song, your serotonin would be very high. With that being said, it is similar to yoga regarding depression and anxiety.
Also, practicing ballet improves your posture and will develop good daily habits. While we sit in our offices and desks all day long, we develop bad sitting habits and bad posture.
By going to some ballet classes, you would totally eliminate that and you will have a healthy posture again. Not to mention increasing flexibility and the ability to train.
- Improves posture
- Increase flexibility
- Helps in serotonin secretion
- Not the best in building muscle
- Could be difficult for elderly people
2. Martial Arts
When we say Martial Arts, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably kung-fu panda. Martial Arts include kung-fu, karate, judo, and many other forms of fighting. Martial Arts are very ancient especially in the Chinese and Japanese cultures.
It is a form of a mind-body exercise just like yoga. It targets every and each aspect of the mind and the body. It connects them together to form the perfect action and reaction.
While practicing any form of martial arts, you will find that it gives you an improvement in posture, form, and mind-muscle connection.
It improves nearly every aspect of your body. Not to mention improving your heart health, building muscle, and improving flexibility in some forms.
Practicing martial arts could be beneficial as a yoga alternative just because it has the same health benefits to the body and even more.
Talking about mental health, martial arts could act like a big stress reliever. Imagine that you are stressed and nervous and you are able to release that in a form of fighting. After doing that, you will feel relieved and the stress would definitely go away.
- Increases cardiovascular health
- Builds muscle
- Stress reliever
- Self-defense tool
- Could be difficult for elderly people
- Not for people who are against violence
3. Contemporary Dance
Contemporary dancing is not your typical type of dancing that is so ancient. Instead, it is a modern type of dancing that mixes many forms of ballet and classical dancing together.
When you first witness a contemporary dance show, you will be amazed at how great this kind of exercise is. You dance and perform while listening to different kinds of music and music genres and sometimes you express yourself while dancing.
Contemporary dancing has many benefits that relate to the body and to the mind. Anything that includes memorizing and a reaction mixes up your mind with your body which we call “mind-body connection”.
This kind of exercise improves flexibility as you would do some crazy dances that challenge your body, especially your legs.
Also, contemporary dancing improves relaxation and helps in self-expression. When dancing and doing multiple moves one after another, you would feel the freedom in your body’s movement, and definitely, you would feel happy.
Contemporary dancing is a great alternative to yoga because not only it has great benefits to the body, it benefits your mind too.
After practicing contemporary dancing you would feel that you found your inner peace and comfort zone where you feel the happiest.
When you would feel stressed, you would dance for some time and then the problem is solved, this is the most important benefit of contemporary dancing.
- Improves relaxation
- Increases flexibility
- Takes a long time to learn
Pilates is mixed sometimes with yoga because of how similar they are to each other. Pilates is a form of sport that was invented back in the 1920s in Germany. Pilates, in the beginning, was not a regular form of exercise.
Instead, it was a kind of physical therapy and a rehab exercise for soldiers. What is so special about Pilates is that it is not for a specific religious-belief or cultural-belief, unlike martial arts and similar forms of exercise that relate to some religions and beliefs.
Pilates is a great form of exercise as it teaches you how to have your complete focus on the movement you are doing with your body. It improves the mind-body connection very efficiently just like yoga.
However, Pilates main focus is on the body. As it was a rehab kind of exercise, it is mainly used to strengthen our muscles and increase our fitness levels.
Unlike some sports that focus only on certain muscles, Pilates targets each and every muscle in our bodies.
If you are bored with yoga and you want an alternative that gives you similar results regarding your body health and mental health, consider going to Pilates classes.
- Rehabilitation exercise
- Not specific to any kind of belief
- Beneficial to the body and to the mind
- No cardiovascular improvements
Parkour is the kind of exercise that you get amazed at when you first see it. It is involved in every action movie we watch. Do you see how these actors jump, roll, and climb the obstacles they get in their way?
This is Parkour. Parkour is an extreme sport that is not easy and definitely not for everyone. However, when you practice it smartly, you will see the results coming your way.
Parkour has many great benefits to the body and also to the mind. It is a full-body workout that strengthens and builds muscles but also burns fat as the sport consists of running, jumping, and climbing, it burns a lot of calories in a single session.
Parkour also develops a quick decision making brain. Because you will face obstacles immediately and sometimes you won’t expect them coming, you will have to make a decision and an action to prevent yourself from falling or hitting the obstacle.
Also, Parkour develops your self-confidence and it will definitely let you know your worth.
If you are bored with yoga and you want an extreme form of a sport, Parkour is definitely your way to go. It has many benefits to the body and to the mind, just like yoga.
- Burns a lot of calories
- Develops quick decision making
- Improves self-confidence
Climbing is a form of exercise that is feared by many people. However, it is a great form of exercise that develops many aspects of our body and mind.
It is an indoor and outdoor exercise that is great for both children and adults, men and women. It is not similar to yoga in practice, but surely, it has the same benefits that make it a great alternative to it.
Climbing has many physical benefits such as that it is considered as a full-body workout. Many people think that to start climbing, you need to have a strong body which stops many people from doing it.
However, climbing does not need you to be strong at all. All you should focus on is the technique and movement.
Climbing improves and builds your muscle mass and strength and improves your cardiovascular health. It targets nearly all the body muscles including legs, pulling muscles “back and biceps”, forearms, and the shoulders.
Also, it strengthens your grip which can be translated to other sports such as weightlifting.
Also, not only climbing benefits the body, but it also benefits the mind. Climbing improves your mind-body connection, relieves stress, and improves your visualization and goal setting.
Most importantly, it increases your self-confidence to a great degree. Did you ever think that you would climb such a high distance? Never.
- Increases self-confidence
- Improves and builds muscle mass and strength
- Improved goal setting
- Builds your character.
- Outdoor climbing could be risky
7. Resistance Training
Resistance Training is a form of exercise that involves external weight to be lifted. Commonly, resistance training is translated to going to the gym. However, it is not always the case.
Resistance training could be done with dumbbells, barbells, resistance-machines, pulley systems, or even resistance bands. It is a kind of sport that could be done at home or at a commercial gym, or even at your garage.
Resistance training involves many sports such as powerlifting, weightlifting, Crossfit, and bodybuilding.
Each one of these sports has its rules and special movements. However, there is a great overlap between them. Resistance training is not necessarily just like yoga, but it has some great benefits that are worth mentioning.
Resistance training’s main focus is to increase muscle mass, muscle strength, and endurance.
Most people also focus on resistance training to lose fat and get fit. It is the best tool if you are looking for body recomposition especially if you want to be muscular.
You might think that resistance training benefits are only to the muscles but that’s wrong.
Resistance training prevents many chronic diseases related to the heart, prevents diabetes and improves blood glucose levels, and improves your mood.
When going to the gym and getting your workout done, you would notice that your mood has totally changed and your serotonin is at its higher levels.
- The best in building muscle
- Prevents many diseases
- Improves mood
- Not for you if you don’t want to be muscular
Barre fitness is a hybrid workout that mixes ballet-inspired exercises with components of Pilates, dance, yoga, and strength training.
Most classes include a barre and use traditional dance techniques such as plies and stretches. Barre also emphasizes high-rep, little-range movements.
The isometric exercises you usually do in barre are the real difference between it and other workouts. For example, when you do a standard hamstring stretch in yoga, standing on one leg and leaning forward until you feel the stretch in your lower back, you’re working both your hamstrings (back of thighs) and your erector spinae muscle group (lower back).
In a barre class, that move would be done while holding onto a barre, which shortens the range of motion and reduces the load on the lower-back muscles.
- Good mix between intensity and relaxation
- Takes the best of many different workouts and combines it into one
- Some people may be put off by the ballet connotation
Walking is a great way to improve your health and well-being.
There are many benefits of walking that can lead you to a healthy lifestyle. Walking is safe, inexpensive, easy to do, and has both mental and physical rewards.
In fact, walking just 30 minutes a day 5 days a week can boost cardiovascular function, strengthen muscles used in everyday activities, increase bone density and reduce your risk of certain diseases.
If you walk enough, you can even get ripped just by walking! The great thing about walking is that it’s easy on your joints and it still burns a really good amount of calories.
You can walk anywhere, anytime and it doesn’t cost a cent! The only thing you need to do is lace up your walking shoes and hit the pavement.
Many people have day jobs that require them to sit at a desk all day, which leads to poor posture and low energy. Walking is a great way to get your body moving and improve your health at the same time.
You can spend as much money on walking shoes, clothes, gadgetry or going out to eat, that you want… but all you really need to do is take a walk outside in your neighborhood.
Even if you are really busy with work, family or school, you can always find the time to take a short walk.
Walking regularly can help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which is very important for maintaining heart health. A regular walking routine can also reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure.
It works major muscle groups like your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Walking is a great way for seniors to stay active because it helps keep your bones healthy through increased bone density.
- Easy to do
- Safe and inexpensive
- Low risk high reward
- You won’t get ripped unless you walk a LOT
Why you may want to avoid yoga
By nature, Yoga is a spiritual kind of exercise in the sense that it fosters a mind-body connection – connecting your mind with your body giving you some great benefits like decreased cortisol levels (stress hormone) and anxiety.
Still, there are reasons why someone may want to avoid yoga.
Most people are turned off to practicing yoga because they can’t get past the spiritual part of it.
They are turned off from yoga because they have been told it is a religion, and they have been told to chant mantras and do things like meditate so as to release their ‘karmas’.
While this is not 100% true, there is indeed a deeply spiritual aspect to yoga and you may feel that this does not align with your personal beliefts.
That’s totally OK. Exercise is supposed to be good for your mind and body, and if doing anything makes you uncomfortable in a bad way, there are lots of other things you can try.
There are many medical conditions that can prevent you from practicing yoga.
Some of these are due to the nature of the condition itself, while others are because of medications or other treatments.
For example, people with heart problems may not be able to do certain moves in a way that is safe for them. Likewise, people who have had their spine fused might find certain poses difficult or impossible to do safely.
What’s more, some types of cancer treatment can lead to nerve damage which makes it too painful for an individual to practice yoga on any part of their body where they have experienced this problem.
Yoga seems intimidating
For many people, the word “yoga” conjures up images of barefoot women in bright-colored spandex doing difficult poses that are likely not achievable without years of training.
Yoga is often associated with high intensity exercise and extreme flexibility. For some people, this may seem intimidating or even impossible to do at home on their own.
The truth is that yoga does not have to be intense or physically demanding in order to yield health benefits, but it can also be done as a form of low-intensity physical activity for those who want something more relaxing than traditional forms of exercise like running or weight lifting.
For example, you could perform gentle stretches while seated in a chair for 10 minutes per day or walk around your neighborhood after dinner for 30 minutes.
However, it can also be practiced to increase exercise intensity depending on the person’s goals, age, and fitness level.
In conclusion, yoga is a very beneficial form of exercise that is spiritual and connects the mind with the body.
Most importantly, it acts as a stress reliever but also decreases depression and anxiety. Not to mention benefits related to the body too.
We have listed the best alternatives to yoga that have the same benefits to the mind and the body.
We have mentioned different kinds of exercises that are more physically-focused and spiritually-focused.
All you have to is to read carefully, see what sport do you feel would suit you, and you will be ready to practice any yoga alternative on this list.