7 Incredible Benefits of Yoga for Sportspersons

Yoga has always been bundled in the category of something that suited elderly or staunch yogis

There is no basketball lover alive who won’t have heard of the legendsShaquille O’Neal or LeBron James. The former stands tall at a towering 7 feet plus and is not someone you would associate with a yoga mat. However, these two NBA stars are absolute advocates for the benefits yoga offers to professional athletes. In the case of the former, it was the need to loosen his hamstrings and improve agility that brought him down to the mat.

LeBron James took up yoga around the same time as Shaquille in 2009 when he sought relief from some lower back problems that he was facing. They both not only got relief from the problems they faced, but their stamina and flexibility also improved.

Yoga has always been bundled in the category of something that suited elderly or staunch yogis. But today, this holistic workout has made its way into the exercise routines of some of the world’s best sports persons and celebrities.

Indian sportspersons especially those from high intensity sports like football and cricket are known to take keen interest in this ageless form of exercise. What makes yoga so popular is its holistic approach.

You don’t just get a full body workout in yoga – it also helps in getting rid of minor niggles, movement issues, and makes you mentally stronger. Let’s take a look at 7 major benefits of yoga for sportsmen.

Perfect warm up: Warm up exercises are integral to any sports person’s preparation, and yoga is a fantastic way of warming up before the performance. It not only helps the body loosen up, but also calms the mind. Athletes who regularly practice yoga are often more confident and focused.

Controlled breathing: One of the major components of yoga is its focus on respiratory processes. Practicing yoga can help in controlling and regulating one’s breathing. This helps in various ways such as tackling breathlessness and stamina. Performance in various stamina sports such as swimming, gymnastics, athletics and Kabaddi is greatly dependent upon breath control. Yoga makes your mental focus sharper and in sports where concentration is key such as shooting or cricket, yoga can be a great performance booster.

Agility: If you have practiced yoga yourself, you would know how making yoga a part of your daily workout can help in improving agility and strength. Through integrated breathing exercises, yoga helps in making you resilient against stress and improves mental clarity. This can make it easier for the athletes to cope with the highly demanding training routines that they have to follow. Various yoga asanas target different parts of the body and improve flexibility.

Better appetite and metabolism: Practice of yoga makes a person’s appetite better and more controlled, thus helping burn the extra calories by increasing the basal metabolic rate of the body. Thus, yoga increases your energy levels, but can also help in bringing down your weight in a healthy way.

Rehabilitation Yoga’s effectiveness in helping athletes bounce back from physical injuries can’t have been overstated. Competitive sports can be highly demanding on the body and players suffering a multitude of injuries is very common. Sports such as cricket, football, tennis and athletics cause constant wear and tear of muscles among professional sports persons. Practicing yoga can help the body in faster healing form such injuries. In fact, it makes the body stronger and flexible, reducing the chances of injury.

Oxygen intake: One of the least talked about, but highly beneficial effects of yoga is its ability to increase oxygen intake and thereby increased endurance. In fact, this is the reason why military recruits in various paramilitary and special forces are given yoga training in between their sports and military drills.

Reduced blood pressure and body aches: Practicing yoga during the early morning hours especially at dawn, can be incredibly beneficial. Those are the hours when the body and mind are at their relaxed best. In fact, an intensive yoga workout early in the morning can be as impactful as an equally demanding session of running.

These incredible health and fitness benefits of yoga have been instrumental in the soaring global popularity of the regime. Today, yoga is no longer being seen as an archaic form of exercise suitable to slow moving people, but, as an all-round and holistic process of physical and mental wellness!

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