Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Make yoga part of your fitness plan

Jupiter Images

Jupiter Images

Although many people know that yoga can provide health benefits, they may not associate it with improved athletic performance. Ryanne Cunningham, author of Yoga for Athletes, due out in November, outlines the benefits of yoga for athletic performance:

Muscle recovery

The goal of recovery is to clear muscles of waste products including lactic acid, to allow the fibers to fire again. While proper hydration helps by flushing waste products out of the body, proper stretching of muscles, as is taught in yoga, more rapidly restores function. Deep breathing practiced in yoga helps bring oxygen to muscles, helping them create energy to burn.

Injury prevention

Five main causes of sports injuries are lack of warmup, twisting or sudden quick motions that stress joints, strength imbalances, tightness of highly trained muscles and overtraining. Yoga emphasizes lengthening of muscles, which in turn can help lessen injury risk and improve flexibility.

Reduce stress, increase focus, relieve tension and improve sleep

Practicing a series of focused movements, poses and deep breathing as part of a yoga sequence decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, helping an athlete feel more relaxed. Techniques learned can be used before sleep as well.

Strengthen underused muscles

Strength imbalances occur when some muscles are consistently trained more than others, as often happens with sports training routines. Yoga poses focus on all areas of the body, including small muscles like those in the wrist that actually take most of the weight and do most of the work.

Build your core

Yoga strengthens the entire trunk, improving posture and helping to protect the lower back. Balance needed for holding the poses and stretches involves the deepest muscles of the body. All three layers of the core must be strong and work together to provide a balanced, effective yoga practice.

• • •

You don't need to be athletic or in great shape to practice yoga, and experts will tell you that it can be as easy or as difficult as you choose to make it. Yoga, when practiced on a regular basis, provides a sense of awareness of the body's strengths and weaknesses, which can then be addressed at your own pace.

Marjie Gilliam is a personal trainer and fitness consultant. Contact her at This article appeared in the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News.

Make yoga part of your fitness plan 10/27/16 [Last modified: Thursday, October 27, 2016 5:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Coquina Key Neighborhood Association to hold forum for District 6 council candidates

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Coquina Key Neighborhood Association is inviting residents to meet the crowded field of candidates running for St. Petersburg's City Council District 6 at a forum Monday evening.

    International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement-affiliated City Council candidate Eritha "Akile" Cainion pauses between answers during a forum at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront earlier this month. The Coquina Key Neighborhood Association plans to hold another forum on Monday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Coquina Key Neighborhood Association Clubhouse, 3850 Pompano Drive SE. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Lake Tarpon bass tournament still going strong after nearly 40 years (w/video)


    Matt Smith, left, and Gary Muchler, work to bring a large mouth bass into Smith's bass boat with only minutes to spare while fishing off Dolly Bay in Lake Tarpon during the Lake Tarpon Tuesday Night Bass Fishing Tournament on Tuesday (7/18/17). The fish sealed second place for the duo.
  3. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  4. Snooty the manatee's death prompts outpouring of support, petition to move Confederate monument


    BRADENTON — The South Florida Museum aquarium remains closed Monday and tributes continue to pour in following the shocking death of Snooty, the beloved manatee who captured the hearts of …

    Four-year-old Katie Blair pays her respects to Snooty at a makeshift memorial in front of the museum on Sunday. Katie and her family has visited the aquarium to see Snooty four times this year. 
Snooty was the world's oldest living manatee in captivity and celebrated his 69th birthday Friday at the aquarium. Aquarium officials described Snooty's death as a tragic accident and is being investigated. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]

  5. Clearwater mansion that sold at record price is back on the market for $19.75 million

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Less than four months after it sold for a record $11.18 million, the waterfront Century Oaks estate is back on the market — for $19.75 million.

    The historic Century Oaks estate overlooking Clearwater Harbor, which sold for $11.18 million four months ago, is back on the market.
[Courtesy: Coastal Properties Group