Fitness Yoga vs. Pilates: Which Workout Is Right for You? By Center for Integrative Medicine, August 27, 2014 What’s the Difference Between Pilates and Yoga? Yoga and Pilates have become increasingly popular, and they’re often talked about together. You may have even heard that they can relieve back pain, decrease stress, and increase strength. But can these low-impact exercises really provide all of these health benefits? And just how different are they? Depending on the type of exercise you enjoy most and what your personal fitness goals are, yoga and Pilates can serve as excellent ways to provide your body with an additional type of physical movement. Both forms of physical activity allow you to focus on specific parts of the body, to improve overall muscle tone and physique. Because both have become so popular, we wanted to give you a better understanding for the incredible health benefits that each exercise provides. There are specific movements that set yoga and Pilates apart, but both can provide health benefits, such as: Improving your range of motion Increasing your flexibility, balance, and core strength Alleviating stress, headaches, and pain The two exercises are compared and contrasted below to help you make an informed decision when choosing an workout plan. Visit our website or call 412-623-3023 to learn more about the services offered at UPMC Center for Integrative Medicine. Yoga: Balance, Breathing, and Flow Yoga focuses on balance, relaxation, deep abdominal breathing, and fixed postures to help you achieve inner peace and tranquility. This can help you visualize success and relax in all situations. Yoga also provides a mild cardiovascular workout. Through repeated practice, you may experience greater strength throughout your body. It can be helpful for people of all fitness levels, and the stretching used in yoga can also provide a warm up for other exercises. Yoga does not require equipment other than a yoga mat. Optional yoga blocks that simulate a higher floor can provide support for beginners. Pilates: Strength, Toning, and Resistance Pilates focuses on strength, toning, resistance exercises, deep chest breathing, flowing movements, and repetition. It provides mild to moderate cardiovascular exercise. The movements involved in Pilates will tone and strengthen various muscle groups — with a focus on the core — to help you excel in workouts and build up muscles after injury. Pilates is often practiced on a special mat. You can also use resistance bands and reformer machines to create adjustable resistance for additional strength building. Wondering if you should ask your doctor before taking up yoga or Pilates? Learn more in the article Should You See a Doctor Before Starting an Exercise Program? Visit our website or call 412-623-3023 to learn more about the services offered at UPMC Center for Integrative Medicine.