Sports people have a tremendous amount to gain from adding yoga to their fitness regime. Because of its repetitive nature, sports can lead to injuries and musculoskeletal imbalances. Yoga restores balance and symmetry to the body, making it the perfect compliment especially in areas such as cycling and running.
Through yoga, they can improve:
Yoga stretches the muscles that are tight, which in turn increases the range of motion in related joints. Increased flexibility decreases stiffness, results in greater ease of movement and reduction of aches and pains.
Running and cycling mostly strengthens the lower body, therefore certain muscles become strong while others are underused and remain weak. A balanced yoga practice involves the entire body. Muscles that are not used as much while taking these sports are strengthened—specifically in the arms, upper torso, abdominals and back.
Strengthening the upper body and core helps improve posture during daily activities and a strong core allows the arms and legs to move more efficiently, results in less fatigue, less weight impact on the legs, and a reduced risk of injury. A strong core creates a strong sports person!
It’s also essential for sports people to lengthen the muscles of the lower portion of the body as overly tight muscles are also weak ones. A healthy muscle is able to move through a healthy range of motion. It’s strong and flexible at the same time.
Overusing some muscles while under using others creates muscular imbalances, which affect the entire musculoskeletal balance and impairs bio-mechanical efficiency. For runners and cyclists, bio-mechanical imbalances eventually lead to pain and injury. Through yoga, sports people can become stronger and reduce the chance of injury.
Lung capacity is of prime importance for sports people, because it creates the ability to maintain an even breathing pattern through all phases of exercise. The better the lung capacity is, the more oxygen is circulated through the system. However, the breathing pattern used in running and other forms of aerobic exercise involves quick and shallow inhalations and exhalations. This uses only the top portion of the lungs, leaving the middle and lower portions untouched. Yogic breathing involves slow, deep inhalations and long exhalations, making use of the upper, middle, and lower portions of the lungs. Yogic breathing has been shown to increase lung capacity, and greater lung capacity increases endurance and improves overall athletic performance.
An energised body
Many forms of exercise deplete the body of its energy stores. Yet a yoga practice oxygenates the blood and creates more energy, leaving the body and mind feeling restored and energised. Yoga provides a vehicle through which the body can actively recover from the physical demands of high impact exercise.