We get it: you love to sweat. You love to push yourself to the max and you love your high impact workouts. We feel the same.
But have you considered adding yoga in to your workout routine? Yoga can bring phenomenal benefits to any athlete’s workout. In fact, practicing yoga on a regular basis can add a lot strength, endurance, and power to your gym performance.
Here are 7 reasons why yoga matters, even if you are a cardio addict (like us):
1. Too much high impact training puts stress on your muscles and bones.
The facts are that high impact training can place stress on your body; too much strain can put long-term pressure on the muscles that they can’t combat. If you don’t work smart then this can eventually cause chronic pain and health problems. Yoga can help combat the effects of high impact training. By gently working the muscles in new ways, yoga can release the stress and tension your muscles are holding. Patricia Ploeger, owner and instructor at Omcore Yoga & Body teaches many high impact craved students who are seeing the benefits of incorporating yoga into their weekly routines. “By stretching overly tight muscles and strengthening the smaller, stabilizing muscles in the body, yoga helps address musculoskeletal imbalances sometimes caused by repetitive cardio and strength training movements.”
2. Yoga can help create deep, critical muscular strength you may be missing.
Yoga works silently but effectively on smaller muscle groups, especially on the stability muscles you may be missing in your usual strength workouts. Lifting large weights or even working to get toned challenges those muscles, too, but in an extremely different way. Yoga adds much needed diversity to your routine.
3. Your body needs days of recovery and yoga provides healthy, active recovery.
If you can’t stand a day away at the gym or simply hear the message from your body that it can’t go any harder, yoga provides the gentle workout your body needs. Your joints and soft ligaments can recuperate while other elements of your fitness and body are tested. “Yoga also reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body,” says Ploeger. “High levels of cortisol can be a result of OVEREXERCISING and too much STRESS and can cause both short and long term harm to the body. “
4. Yoga is a different type of strength and it is all about your bodyweight.
As perfectly stated by Eat, Lift & Be Happy: “Being able to move heavy iron relative to your bodyweight is awesome, but then discovering that you have little ability to leverage that bodyweight? Well, that was a revelation. Yoga improves bodyweight strength, and puts you in positions that you might not otherwise put yourself in at the gym.”
5. By doing yoga on a regular basis, you improve your posture.
Your spinal supporting muscles gather the strength they need to help you lift more through powerful posture. Yoga can also protect you in your office environment by increasing your awareness of your body, including how to sit. The benefits to this can last years by alleviating and avoiding any sort of back, neck, or shoulder pain.
6. Yoga increases your flexibility, softens your ligaments, and can keep you injury free.
Strenuous exercise creates an imbalance in your body if done alone, creating tension and shortened muscle fibers. By practicing yoga you can reverse those effects and keep your body healthier and you happier.
7. You can practice breathing!
Yes, believe it or not you need to practice breathing. By having great control you can become a stronger athlete, pushing longer and harder in your cardio workouts. Yoga provides moments to consciously practice breathing, and you can take those skills with you to your cardio workout. Patricia Ploeger teaches her students the importance of proper breathing. She states, “The conscious breathing component of yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms and relaxes both the mind and the body.”
Of course, yoga also has numerous spiritual and emotional benefits as well. All of those have been well documented and are certainly important for any individual.
But if those reasons don’t compel you, understand that practicing yoga regularly can provide you the physical prowess and strength you need to get even more from your athletic workout.
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