Endure-Wellness For Sportmen

The four elements of sportsmanship are often shown being good form, the will to win, equity and fairness. All four elements are critical and a balance must be found among all four for true sportsmanship to be illustrated.

Sportsmanship is an aspiration or ethos that a sport or activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of fellowship with one's competitors

If athletes are physically and mentally underdeveloped, they are susceptible to mental or physical problems. Athletes trying to improve their performance in sports can harm themselves by over training, adopting eating habits that damage them physically or psychologically, and using steroids or supplements.

Yoga is for everyone, athletes included. Yoga works on strength, flexibility, balance, agility, endurance, core, and overall strength, among other things. Any athlete could benefit hugely by adding yoga to her or his training regimen. Here’s more details on a few of the perks:

Strength:

No amount of weight-lifting with free weights will give you the strength that consistently holding up your own body weight will.

Flexibility:

Practicing yoga increases flexibility and ease of movement, therefore increasing range of motion. In particular, athletes in sports that require swinging action (tennis, golf, etc.) can benefit greatly. Flexibility in general also helps to prevent injury.

Balance:

Balancing poses in yoga improve overall balance in everything you do, preventing falls and injury. When you learn how to be soft and go with the flow, you can more easily bend and are less likely to break or fall over.

Endurance:

The endurance that the ease of yoga gives you lends to endurance sports like running, triathlons, and Iron Mans. When you learn to tune into your body and mind, everything can be a meditation—sports included. Yoga also helps you learn how to pace yourself: slow and steady, in it for the long haul.

Core:

Almost everything you do in yoga works on your core strength. Strong core equals a healthy back and a healthy body.

Stability:

Yoga helps strengthen all of the little stabilizing muscles that people tend to miss in other physical workouts and are vital in protecting your joints and spine (among other things).

Recovery:

Yoga also helps put athletes back together after injuries. Again: You’re tuning into your body and giving it the care it wants and needs. Yoga also elongates all of the muscles that athletes spend so long contracting, so it is a great counter-action.

Most importantly, yoga changes the way you think and approach everything in life: When you learn to move with ease and stop forcing things, you will prevent injuries and your body will open with your mind, increasing your flexibility all around.


1. INCREASED POWER

Flexibility keeps muscles and joints safe. Chances are, if you’ve just been using the same muscles for repetitive movements, they’re going to be pretty tight. Top-flight bodybuilders and dedicated weekend warriors alike love a good massage for this reason. Maybe you’ve Even noticed a one rep max plateau, or a speed block. If a muscle is so tight that injury is imminent, your body will start to recruit other muscles to help out with certain moves. And if those muscles are under-trained, you’re looking at a torn muscle and -gasp- down time. Elastic muscles and supple joints move more efficiently, recover more quickly and continue doing their jobs. Increasing your flexibility will also increase range of motion, which means an increased power output due to greater muscle recruitment, and more efficient movements.

2. BETTER MUSCLE FUNCTION

Yoga is a lot of things but it is basically all about breath and movement, movement and breath. To fully be present and to full articulate each posture in yoga, a strong, focused breath is essential. Doesn’t hurt that it tames busy brain or helps take the edge off your pre-workout drink. Getting in touch with your breath can help establish better breathing patterns and access parts of your respiratory system that you didn’t even know you could control. Get ready for more efficient oxygen intake, more complete exhalation, and better muscle function. Hello, gains. Goodbye muscle fatigue, symptoms of asthma, ragged breathing, and side stitches. Just like you wouldn’t restrict precious nutrients and protein from your muscles, you should also be feeding your muscles with more delicious blood flow and oxygen. This is also certain to develop positive respiratory habits that you can carry into the rest of your training endeavours.

3. MENTAL TOUGHNESS

One of the biggest benefits of yoga is its emphasis on the connection between body and mind. Whether through meditation, or through the holding a headstand for an extended period of time, your mental toughness and focus are likely to improve. This might be the hardest benefit to achieve but once you begin to get your head in the game the benefits are almost unlimited.

4. CONTROL

“Pull your belly button to your spine,” “feel your lungs expanding,” “roll down your spine, one vertebrae at a time,” are all common phrases in yoga classes. It’s this constant cueing to pay attention to the smallest of sensations that helps build the neurological connections between our brains and our muscles (See No. 3). Yoga builds body awareness, and this can help you analyze your form during your workout to both optimize your lifting techniques, and help prevent compensation based injury. Again, this carries over into your normal cadre of sets-and-reps: the better you are able to “connect” mind and muscle, the more focused (read: efficient) each rep will be. Tough to think about the burn when you’re laser-focused on the effort.

5. ACTIVE RECOVERY AND MUSCLE REPAIR

Active recovery typically means a light workout on an off day. These low-key days are a perfect way to slide yoga seamlessly into your schedule. Using specifically yoga as a form of active recovery can actually repair muscle fibers more quickly than other common forms, as the combination of stretching and relaxing muscles encourages blood flow to broken down muscle tissues. Do yoga, lift again sooner. If you think yoga is just for slim, prissy girls with hot yoga pants on, think again. A great many of you out there likely have at least some familiarity with yoga through your TV-ordered set of P90X DVDs. Through yoga, you learn to control your body and your mind. And when it comes to building a stronger, leaner, more functional physique, that control can truly provide next-level results. Pranayama is a technique to control breathing which is the link between the mind and the body. It helps in controlling the mind and increases awareness of oneself without the distraction of the thoughts that constantly bombard our mind. It calms the mind by concentrating on one’s breathing and ultimately going beyond breathing.

Pranayama decreases the pace of breathing and if practised regularly, can extend one’s longevity. Normally a person takes 12-16 breaths per minute, when one sleeps 30 breaths per minute and 45-60 breaths per minute when one is angry. When we do yoga or Pranayama, we take 1-2 breaths per minute. According to yoga, age equals the number of breaths. Therefore by practising Pranayama one can decrease the breath rate and increase one’s life span.

There are three parts of pranayama: Purak (controlled inhalation), Kumbhak (retention) and Rechak (controlled exhalation). Kumbhak is the most important aspect of pranayama which is further divided into AntarKumbhak (inhaling and holding the breath), WahiyahKumbhak (exhaling and holding the breath) and lastly Kevala Kumbhak (surviving without air for a period of time).

There are two kinds of respiration that take place in the body — external and internal; external respiration is an act of exhaling and inhaling air with the lungs. Internal respiration is the process by which oxygen from the air is transferred to the blood, and carbon dioxide from the blood is sent back into the air.

In Pranayama when we inhale and hold our breath, we allow enough time for the blood to react with the oxygen, which in turn enriches and energises the whole body therefore revitalising the whole system.

In the context to sports, Pranayama plays the largest role in helping a sportsman on the field. As mentioned earlier the breath is the link between the mind and the body. A physically fit body can perform its best only when the breath is in tune. Pranayama helps a sportsperson attain control over his actions in the game, here exhalation plays an important role as it defines the strength and power utility of the player. For example the bowler releases the ball just before the release he exhales so as to get a good pace on the ball, the same holds good for a batsman when he has to hit the ball. It is a general requirement for any sportsperson to have good lung capacity and retention power if he/she has to perform at his/her best.

The other aspect that Pranayama helps in is control of thoughts while playing. During a game many thoughts run through the minds of players about the next move and what needs to be done on the spot, and if things don’t go as planned one can easily get tensed and ultimately lose. Through the regular practice of pranayama one can achieve focus and declutter the mind of thoughts, which aids the player to go through each thought one by one and act accordingly.

In this series, we will be touching upon pranayamas which when practised daily can benefit one in achieving mental peace and hence perform optimally.

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