Basic Yoga Poses to Remain Fit for Outdoor Sports

By Patricia | May 14, 2009
Yoga For Sports

People who play outdoor sports tend to exercise regularly to keep themselves fit and in perfect form for the playing field. They usually choose cardiovascular exercises, or weight training, or a combination of both to achieve their fitness goals. What they probably don’t realize is that there is another form of exercise that can dramatically improve their health and fitness levels: yoga.

Isn’t yoga a form of exercise for women and old people? Actually this is a popular misconception and far from true. The truth is that yoga can dramatically increase your fitness levels and catapult you to the top of your game. Let us find out how and why.

Fitness is usually measured on three parameters: respiratory fitness, muscular fitness, and flexibility. Let’s find out how yoga can help you become fit on all three counts.

Cardio-respiratory fitness. Cardio exercises improve the fitness of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. The term cardio refers to any form of exercise that increases your heart rate for a period of time. Cardio exercises include running, cycling, sprinting, and swimming. There’s no way that yoga can take the place of these timer-tested cardio exercises is there?

Well that just isn’t true. If you think cardio makes you sweat, try one of the more vigorous forms of yoga such as Bikrama yoga or Ashtanga Power yoga. These styles of yoga offer the same cardiovascular benefits as conventional cardio exercises.

Muscular fitness. Okay, so maybe yoga can also help you with cardiovascular fitness, but there’s no way it can make you put on muscle. After all, to gain strength and muscle you have to pump iron. Again, this is not strictly true.

Yes, if you want to build up trophy muscle, you need to pump weights. But if you are only looking for strength gains and a toned look, yoga is the perfect alternative. Yoga uses a lot of body weight exercises that stimulate muscular growth. Another advantage of performing yoga is that it works out all the muscles of your body. It also helps to flush out any toxins that are generated as a result of your workout so that you do not experience any cramping.

Flexibility. Now here’s one area where conventional exercises really don’t help that much. As we age, our body dramatically loses its flexibility. While this may not seem like such a big deal initially, the loss of flexibility can have serious repercussions when you are in your golden years. It can lead to loss of motion or mobility. Yoga emphasizes flexibility and is one of the best exercise options in this respect.

Basic yoga poses for outdoor sports. There are a number of yoga poses that can help you to maximize your performance in outdoor sports. One of the best is the Surya Namaskara, or Sun Salutation, a sequence of twelve poses that promote flexibility and strength. There are also many other poses that can be practiced, based on your requirements. Check out your nearest yoga class for more options.

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