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Yoga For Cross Training

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Athletes have discovered that yoga is a valuable complement to their exercise programs. The complete body workout that yoga offers adds a new dimension to an otherwise one sided workout. While running, swimming or lifting weights, a specific action is performed over and over again. A typical runner suffers from muscle rigidity as a direct result of the runner's one-dimensional workout. This repetition results in a body that is structurally out of shape and excessively tight which in turn makes it susceptible to training related injuries. Yoga can counter balance these. Regular yoga practice increases flexibility, improves balance and helps strengthen, tone and relax the muscles.

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[edit] Did You Know?

  • Injury prevention and core strengthening are two obvious benefits of Yoga. *Cross-training with Yoga allows an individual to achieve optimal performance in his or her sport because peak performance in any physical activity requires overall strength and stamina that is not attainable by the repetition of one sport or exercise routine.
  • Professional teams like the New York Knicks, Florida Marlins and Portland Trailblazers practice Yoga as part of their grueling workout regimes!

[edit] Stretching Muscles

Stretching muscle tissues is good for them. Yoga is ideal for strengthening and toning the muscles which get shortened and tightened in cross training. While running and lifting weights, muscle fibers get glued together with breakdown products of exercise - such as lactic acid. Over time muscles become shorter and get bunched up. The stretching that one engages in during a yoga practice helps lengthen and stretch muscles thereby reducing the risk of injuries. This stretching also strengthens and tones the muscles and healthier muscles result in improved endurance and stamina.

[edit] Improving Endurance

Practicing good breathing techniques as taught in yoga can help one to exercise more efficiently. To achieve optimum endurance levels, the body needs to better utilize its oxygen intake. The body relies on oxygen for producing energy while exercising, and so a person with good endurance has a greater capacity to deliver oxygen to the working muscles. Deep breathing in yoga helps to relax the muscles and increases the capacity to deliver oxygen to the working muscles more efficiently, thus leading to better endurance.

[edit] Reducing the Risk of Injury

If a person runs swims or does weight training and omits doing anything to maintain flexibility, they increase their chances of a body injury. It is important to maintain a range of motion and stretch out the muscles that get tight from repetitive body action. A tight muscle is brittle, hard, and inflexible. Because muscles act as shock absorbers, they need to be soft, malleable, and supple. Brittle muscles cause the joints to rub and grind, making them vulnerable to tears and to painful knee injuries. Tense muscles also contribute to pain. Relaxing muscles helps to minimize the pain that is associated with brittle muscles.

[edit] Yoga as a Warm-up Tool

Using yoga stretches before and after cross training is the ideal accompaniment to any physical training. To decrease post exercise stiffness, yoga poses offer more instant full-body relief than traditional stretches and minimize next day stiffness. Doing yoga asanas after invigorating activities helps the body recover and repair itself.

[edit] Evening out Imbalances

Yoga works all the muscles in the body so there is no danger of developing imbalanced muscles. If the body is off balance, every step taken forces the muscles to work harder in compensation. The pain most runners feel is not from the running itself, but from imbalances that running causes. Yoga evens out muscle imbalances by training the body on both sides equally, and strengthening the lower back and abdominals. Improving these core areas helps to maintain the body’s balance. The balanced workout that yoga offers results in overall fitness.

[edit] References

  • Progressive Power Yoga
  • Yoga as CrossTraining
  • Yoga Journal
  • Yoga for Life

[edit] See Also