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It’s funny to consider that many dedicated yogis and athletes don’t realize the benefits of each other’s training practices. For example, athletes who depend on cardio strength and physical stamina to compete in their sports of choice may not appreciate that practicing yoga can elevate their overall performance. And…the same is true for avid yoga practitioners: cardio exercises and weight training can also greatly boost their yoga practice! Here’s a look at how it works:

For Yoga Enthusiasts

The addition of cardio and strength or weight training to your daily practice can be very beneficial. Activities such as brisk walking, jogging, aerobics, swimming, and dancing, elevate the heart rate, improve circulation and build endurance. Even walking as little as 30 to 45 minutes three times a week is great for heart health and develops better body mechanics. Better body mechanics in turn serves to increase flexibility, which will also enhance one’s yoga practice.

Yoga practitioners may find that incorporating strength training into their routine greatly boosts their ability to maintain certain poses and stances. Because it protects bone health and builds muscle mass, it’s a given that strength training will allow yogis to have an easier time with weight bearing poses such as planks or downward facing dog.

For Athletes

Not so many years ago, an avid athlete may have scoffed at the notion of attending a yoga class. These days, yoga has been identified as a tremendous way to increase power and control. Since yoga builds flexibility it also serves to protect one’s joints and muscles from injury. When muscles have better elasticity, they allow joints to move more fluidly which also increases one’s range of motion.

The mental focus and controlled breathing learned through yoga practice can help other types of athletes increase their oxygen intake and coordinate their movements which can contribute to achieving peak performance. Learning to control one’s breathing and calm the mind also allows an athlete to focus more fully on the task at hand, rather than overthink it.

In the case of athletes who periodically include days off in their training schedules, yoga is an ideal choice for the “day off”. The site, muscleandfitness.com explains that, “Using yoga as a form of active recovery can actually repair muscle fibers more quickly.” This is due to the fact that so many yoga poses combine gentle stretching, which allows sore muscles to relax.

Whether your sport of choice involves a ball, a mat, cleats or bare feet, an exercise routine that features a combination of activities certainly seems to be the hands down best choice!

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