Better workout: yoga or gym?

Published: Aug. 11, 2015 at 12:59 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2015 at 4:39 AM EDT
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(Source: Ivanhoe Newswire)
(Source: Ivanhoe Newswire)

SAN ANTONIO (Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) - So which workout is best? Yoga, stretching, balance and core strength. Or the gym, pounding the treadmill, pushing up the heart rate. A clinical study tried to find out.

Daniel Hughes, PhD, Assistant Professor and Clinical Exercise Physiologist at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas led the study.  Some people did yoga, others did gym workouts and a third group was just asked to be active in some way consistently.

Professor Hughes says, "What we asked all three groups to do was to do an hour at a time, and three hours per week."

Going in, Professor Hughes thought his gym workout would be the winner. Yoga therapist Nydia Tijerina-Darby said thought her yoga program would win.

"And I would have been right in there putting major bucks on the yoga," Tijerina says.

The result surprised everyone.

"All three arms were just as effective in terms of body fat, fitness and physical function," Professor Hughes explains.

Michelle Hart who participated in the study was surprised by the results.  She says, "I think I was expecting that one would be stronger than the other, and probably thinking that yoga would be the end all be all."

But Cindy Schmelz, who hit the gym during the study, wasn't so surprised. "I think that as long as you have an activity that you're going to stay regular with, it's probably beneficial," Schmelz says.

Exactly, about three hours a week of whatever gets you moving, is key.

Professor Hughes says, "You can just go out and be active, 10 minutes at a time, but for heaven's sake, find something you enjoy and lock in and do it and if you don't enjoy it, experiment until you find what you do."

All the participants in the study lost the same amount of body fat, about four percent.  Researchers say one small difference: the yoga group performed better stretching and reaching.

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