Ask the experts: Is yoga enough exercise?


Each month Sovereign ambassadors Nicola Smith, a personal trainer, nutrition and lifestyle coach, and Pua Magasiva, an actor and personal trainer, answer your nutrition and fitness questions

Q Is yoga enough exercise in itself or do I need to add in some cardio?

A It all depends on what your goals are. If yoga is something that you enjoy and you feel its going to be beneficial for your wellbeing, then I think it is enough. However, if you want to lose weight, build muscle and increase your overall fitness levels there is more you need to add to your yoga, including some cardiovascular exercise and some weight training.

Q My sister has started walking for weight loss, which is great as she hasn’t exercised in a long time. Can you give me some tips on how she can get the most out of her walks?

A Your sister should try to find small ways to challenge herself every time she goes for a walk if she wants to get the most out of it. Setting achievable goals each week will help. For example, aiming to run for two minutes during each walk, or setting a time limit for a particular walk and trying to beat it each day. She should gradually start to pick up the pace because this will eventually help her to start jogging and then running.

Q I’m training for a half marathon, and do my running before breakfast. Should I drink a sports drink before I go?

A When it comes to training in the mornings and whether or not to eat beforehand, this can vary. The key here is to listen to your body’s needs on a daily basis. You may find some days you wake up and you can go for a run by just hydrating your body, while other days you need a bite to eat to get your energy levels up. Start by asking yourself what your goal for that training session is. When you know what that goal is, you will then know whether you have the energy to achieve it without food or whether you need a little extra something to put a spark in your step. For example, if you are going for a 5km run with some hills, in order to be able to give it 100% and improve your strength and endurance, it makes sense to have a banana and drink 500ml of water before you head out the door. When it comes to what fuel to eat, leave sports drinks in the shop and instead use real food as your fuel source. Try drinking 500ml to 1 litre of water with a pinch of Himalayan rock salt and some lemon juice in it each morning when you wake. If you need more, have a few bites of breakfast or some leftover dinner to give you that little extra spark of energy before you go for a run.

From the editors of Goodhealth Choices