There’s something about yoga that a lot of men just don’t click with. Maybe its the spandex, maybe its the music, maybe it’s the fact that conforming to the shape of a pretzel doesn’t sound like our idea of a good time. If you’re like me, you might even refer to the gym as “that place you lift heavy things,” and for a lot of men that just about covers it!
Which brings us to the topic of today’s article: yoga.
I was ‘motivated’ to give my 2 cents on the topic by my own recent run-in with injuries after a year of heavy weights and limited mobility training. I started noticing more tension in my shoulders and back and did the best thing possible for my body. Absolutely nothing. I kept weight training, kept lifting heavy, and you guessed it; injured myself. While building muscle is great in its own right, if you’re not concentrating on practical mobility (yoga, duh) you could really be holding yourself back. In this article, I’m gonna give you 5 good reasons you need yoga in your regimen!
1: Injury Prevention
This is a big one, ladies and gents. My grandfather used to tell me, “It’s not a matter of if, It’s a matter of when”. While he may have been (unsuccessfully) trying to convince me to stop leaning back in my chair, the lesson holds true. When you exercise regularly, the injuries will catch up to you eventually – especially if you don’t actively work against them!
When it comes to injury prevention, few exercises can prepare your body like a good yoga regimen. One factor in injury prevention is simply having the flexibility to perform complex movements with proper form. If you try to perform an exercise without the necessary flexibility, you may fall into a habit of improper form which can lead to muscle imbalances and injury.
2: Strength Building
Strength: just about the last thing a lot of people think when they hear ‘yoga’. When your muscles are flexible and well-fed, you’re looking at peak performance in strength based exercises. If your muscles are tight on the other hand, you’re sacrificing hard-earned power and cheating yourself.
When tight muscles are pushed to their limits, other muscle groups may begin to compensate during stressful movements. By stretching your muscles you allow a greater range of motion and give your body the ability to use larger amounts of muscle. In turn, you get to lift heavier things! Score!
The day after a hard exercise can be a struggle. When you work your muscles hard you damage them, but this gives them the opportunity to repair and grow stronger. The healing process just so happens to include inflammation, soreness and decreased mobility. What can we do to help that? No, ibuprofen is not always the answer!
Yoga works wonders with sore muscles, and it doesn’t just help with mobility. Yoga helps increase blood flow and can reduce inflammation too! If you’ve ever had a gym session where you thought “tomorrow is gonna hurt”, you could definitely use a little yoga in your life.
This goes hand in hand with the other points, but I felt it deserves its own mention! Mobility includes flexibility and range of motion, as they both aid mobility.
It’s easy to take mobility for granted but it’s invaluable when it comes to performing your best both in the gym and in everyday life. Increased mobility helps with everything from maximizing workouts to keeping good posture. Having great posture isn’t just for when you’re lifting, you know! Then again, maybe now you can get away with it sometimes. “Its ok, I do yoga!” Right?
5: General Wellness
Some of the most well-known benefits of yoga are its ability to ease anxiety, reduce blood pressure, and aid in a good nights sleep. The practice of yoga has been studied and performed for over 5,000 years and has stress relief at its roots. Stress can be one of the ultimate enemies of a healthy fitness schedule. It’s easy to push off a workout because of a particularly long day, but sometimes a little yoga is exactly what you need. If you’re looking to breathe a little better and shake some stress, look no further!
No matter your training style, you can benefit from yoga. Don’t make my mistake and wait for an injury, cause it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when!