Is Yoga the Best Low Intensity Workout?

Is Yoga the Best Low Intensity Workout?

As we learned from the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race. This means that results come from consistent gradual progress rather than intense efforts. And this is a great way to describe low-intensity yoga.

What are Low Intensity Workouts?

The best low-intensity workouts are activities done at a steady pace for at least 30 minutes. At this comfortable pace, you should be able to carry on a conversation without losing your breath. Gentle yoga is a great example of a low-intensity workout and it’s a great place to start doing yoga, especially for beginners.

What is Yoga? Origins and Benefits

Yoga is an ancient physical and spiritual practice that began in India and includes physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation.1 There are numerous health benefits associated with practicing yoga including:1

  • Reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Effective pain management
  • Weight loss
  • Stress management
  • Improved sleep
  • Better balance, flexibility, and overall wellness

A 2019 analysis of 11 different studies looking at brain function and blood flow to the brain found that yoga positively influenced nearly every major area of the brain and helped support important brain networks.2 

A 2021 review of 25 studies featuring healthcare professionals found that yoga had both mental and physical benefits by reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and musculoskeletal pain.3 

Research also shows that yoga is good for blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and overall heart health.4

Starting any new activity can be intimidating and that can also be the case with yoga; however, once you begin, you’ll likely find it easy to stick with.

Starting Low-Intensity Yoga

There are different types of intensity levels of yoga. Beginners may benefit from starting a low-intensity yoga practice. Hatha yoga is an example of a slower, more gentle form of yoga that’s perfect for beginners.

If you are new to yoga, consider taking a class so an instructor can teach you the correct techniques for each of the poses. While there are many online videos and apps, learning from an experienced instructor in person is best for beginners. Be sure to find out about the training and experience of your instructor before starting a beginner’s yoga class.

According to the National Institutes of Health, yoga is considered generally safe especially when practiced under the guidance of a qualified instructor. While the risk of injury is low, the most common injuries are sprains and strains especially on knees and the lower legs.1 Because low-intensity workouts have so many health benefits and are considered safer than higher-intensity exercise programs, nearly everyone can benefit from low-intensity yoga.

If you have been inactive, you may want to talk to your doctor before embarking on a new yoga routine.

If you are looking for a lower impact workout, yoga is one of the best low intensity workouts you can find. Give it a try! And if you have kids, why not get them involved too.

Follow @zhou_nutrition for more fitness and wellness tips!


  1.  National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Yoga: what you need to know. NIH. 2023;August.
  2.  Gothe P, Khan I, Hayes J, et al. Yoga effects on brain health: a systematic review of the current literature. Brain Plasticity. 2019;5(1):105-122.
  3.  Ciezar-Andersen SD, Hayden KA, King-Shier KM. A systematic review of yoga interventions for helping health professionals and students. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2021;58.
  4.  Chu P, Gotink RA, Yeh GY, et al. The effectiveness of yoga in modifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. 2016;23(3).
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