Yoga can be an incredible tool for athletes to use to increase their mobility, strength, and overall performance. But, that’s not all yoga does. It can even help with weight loss, provides your body protection from injury, and can improve your mind-body connection: all things that any athlete needs to keep themselves at the top of their game. At Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee, FL our yoga classes can take your performance to the next level.
Top 10 Benefits of Yoga
1. Increases Flexibility & Mobility
We all know that yoga increases your flexibility almost instantly. Regularly working through bendy, stretchy poses will gradually loosen up your muscles and give you more room to freely move. Even impossible poses will become second nature to you as you power through consistent yoga classes.
If you’re an athlete that isn’t too keen on stretching, you’re severely limiting your body’s range of motion, which will hinder your overall performance. Yoga poses that focus on increasing mobility can help you boost your performance and give you an edge over your competitors. So, even if you never want to be able to bend your legs behind your head, increasing your flexibility through consistent yoga classes is a great way to have well-rounded strength and mobility.
2. Builds Strength & Endurance
We all know the familiar burn after holding a plank for a few seconds, but try doing that multiple times within one short yoga class. Yoga may look like a delicate practice, but don’t let that fool you.
Yoga is one of the best ways to build both strength and endurance. Headstands and planks are key moves in many yoga sequences and both build incredible strength in your core. Many yoga poses use bodyweight exercises to give you a different kind of workout and strength than just lifting weights alone would.
3. Provides Protection From Injury
Tight hamstrings or hip flexors are a surefire way to find yourself injured playing sports or lifting weights. By balancing out your athletic performance with flexibility, you’re increasing your body’s ability to move freely, which decreases your risk of injury.
Nobody wants to waste valuable training time healing a torn hamstring, and keeping your muscles flexible and pliable will help you prevent that. Plus, a regular yoga practice even helps prevent cartilage and joint breakdown by regularly stretching and lubricating the joints.
4. Helps With Weight Loss & Boosts Metabolism
Yoga is an excellent way to lose weight, especially for people who are experiencing chronic pain or are recovering from an injury. Yoga is low impact and won’t aggravate your joints as running would, plus it builds well-rounded strength that will give your body a nice, lean appearance.
5. Boosts Athletic Performance
If you have hit a plateau with your training or performance, try incorporating yoga classes into your training schedule. Yoga uniquely challenges your body for a different strength-building experience and can have a positive effect on your athletic performance. If you struggle with a limited range of motion, yoga can help keep you quick on your feet.
6. Supports the Body’s Natural Healing Process
By increasing the body’s circulation, regular yoga practices helps keep the lymphatic system draining properly, which stimulates your body to naturally fight infection. It also increases the number of red blood cells that are available to the cells, which will help keep freshly-oxygenated blood flowing to every cell in your body.
7. Increases Mind-Body Connection
Yoga builds strength in not just your body, but your mind too. The goal of any yoga practice is to harmonize the mind, body, and spirit of the body to work seamlessly together as one. Yoga can teach you how to listen to your body and improve your mind-body connection. This can be especially helpful for weight lifters looking to activate certain muscles or athletes who need more body awareness on the court.
For an athlete, there is probably nothing more important than a strong mind-body connection. Having control and mindful awareness of your body will keep your performance at its best. Plus, it can help you deal with high-pressure situations with mindfulness and strength, rather than letting it frazzle you and throw you off your game.
8. Stress Reduction
Weight lifters know that cortisol can kill gains and keep stubborn fat from budging. Spikes in cortisol can harm your performance by throwing off your body’s natural homeostasis. When your body is in a state of stress, it tends to store fat in the midsection and inhibit your body’s ability to fully recover. Yoga helps calm your mind by allowing you to practice mindfulness and awareness.
Ancient yogis teach their students that the goal of yoga is to train both the body and the mind. So if you are someone that struggles with overwhelming feelings of stress, yoga can teach you valuable tools you can use to alleviate that burden on yourself. Let’s face it, daily stressors aren’t going anywhere in our modern, chaotic worlds, but we can learn to deal with them in healthy ways to improve both our athletic performance and mental strength.
9. Improves Sleep Quality
Rest is one of the most important things to do following a big workout. All the work you did in the gym needs time to assimilate into your body, and the muscle-building process happens when you’re resting. However, if you’re not able to get the proper rest between big workouts, you’re missing out on your maximum gains.
10. Keeps Your Spine Flexible
A flexible spine is a happy spine! While backbends may not feel natural to you if you don’t regularly practice them, they are an excellent way to stretch your body and can improve lousy posture and increase a limited range of motion in tight backs. Backbends are a great way to keep your spine moving and keep your disks nicely lubricated.
Painful conditions, such as degenerative disk disease, can happen when there isn’t enough movement happening in the spine, which dries out the disks, causing pain. Starting a regular yoga practice now that keeps your spine bending is a great way to avoid injury and pain in the future.
Yoga can help boost your performance with a regular yoga practice and keep your body feeling its best. Check out Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee, FL today to learn how their yoga classes can boost your athletic performance.