Yoga may not be the first type of workout that comes to mind when contemplating which style of rigorous exercise an athlete might choose. However, yoga provides many benefits to both the mind and body that can be appealing to those in an athletic profession. Many notable athletes have been known to use yoga practices to enhance their athletic abilities. Some of the more famous of these athletes include basketball player Shaquille O’Neal, football legend Tom Brady, and MMA fighter Cody Gibson. All of these athletes, and many more, have found that integrating yoga into their workout routines has helped them achieve a higher level of performance in their respective sport. So what is it about yoga that makes athletes choose yoga?
the calming effect
Athletes often have stressful careers and do not receive a lot of down time to calm their mind and body. Yoga can be a great choice of exercise for an athlete who is trying to combine workouts with free time. Deep breathing poses throughout yoga can be extremely relaxing and even contribute to post workout recovery. If an athlete does many styles of workouts and fits yoga into the mix, it can be a wonderful way to de-stress the mind and body as a post workout recovery.
It is often underestimated in different athletic fields how flexible the athletes must be. Flexibility might not seem like the most important trait when pondering basketball, football, or soccer. However, all of the athletes in these fields require massive amounts of flexibility. This allows them to perform at their best by giving them the ability to move and contort their bodies in all sorts of positions. The gentle stretches throughout a yoga routine can help athletes gain more and more flexibility the longer they stick with it.
While appearing extremely calm and gentle, yoga is actually quite a vigorous exercise. All of the poses and stretches require extreme muscle control and strength. If an athlete chooses to do yoga and uses a variety of poses and moves, they will be able to work out nearly every muscle in their body over time. There are not many other workouts available that can perform full-body toning the way yoga can. Athletes choosing yoga can also learn specific sequences of poses to strengthen and tone whichever muscles they will be using most in their sport.
Many athletes choose yoga as their form of workout because it can be gentle on injuries. Almost all athletes get injured at some point in their career, whether minor injuries that have them out for a week or major injuries that have them out for the whole season. These athletes need to continue doing a gentle form of workout while they are out of the game to avoid losing all muscle tone and flexibility. Yoga can be a gentle workout that can be tailored to exactly the level that the athlete is able to do at that point in time. The poses and sequences all offer variations for each move that can allow an athlete to work back up to their full potential, while not risking injuring the muscle or joint any further.
One of the best qualities about yoga, and why everyone including athletes choose yoga, is that it can be a fun and entertaining workout. Athletes often do the same types of workouts repetitively. Lifting weights and doing cardio is great for the body, but it can get tedious after performing the same exercises over a long period of time. Yoga has many different poses, sequences, and moves that can be interchanged and rearranged to keep it interesting. An athlete could potentially do different yoga poses every day for a year. This would allow them to get a quality workout while not having to reuse the same moves. If workouts get boring, the person is less likely to be motivated to continue them. With athletes high need for strong muscles and a lean body, it is important that they find an exercise regimen that keeps them intrigued and excited for their next workout.
Yoga is a great choice of exercise for athletes of all kinds. It can offer everything from rigorous strength training to sculpt and tone muscles, gentle workouts for those athletes who were unfortunate enough to become injured, to great recovery. Many athletes have already integrated yoga into their regular workout routine while supplementing a post workout drink to speed up their muscle recovery. There are many benefits for these men and women to add yoga practice into their lives, and virtually no downsides. It would not be unlikely, in the future, for more athletes to choose yoga since it is such an exciting and beneficial method of exercise.
Nearly 10 years as a personal trainer has given Ryan a vast amount of knowledge and expertise within the health, fitness, and nutrition space. His love of writing, combined with his passion for helping others guarantees the delivery of helpful and challenging information. He loves interacting with his readers and is dedicated to helping them live healthier, more fulfilling lives.