Most people put an emphasis on doing physical exercises to lose weight, get in shape, and look better. This is a good piece of advice which can definitely enhance the quality of life in the long run.
However, being physically active is just a part of the whole story. Another important aspect consists of preventing injuries.
You don’t have to be a top athlete to begin worrying about getting injured while doing your favorite sport. Even if you go for a run one or two times a week you expose yourself to injuries if you don’t do a warm-up session before.
What is an injury?
Any damage to your body that causes physical symptoms can be qualified as an injury. Most common ones are bruises, sprains, strains, and splints. Some injuries are easy to treat, others require many weeks of physical rest to give the body time to heal.
Most injuries happen as a result of 3 factors:
- Not wearing adequate equipment – sparring with a boxing partner without headgear is not a good idea when you are a beginner
- Not doing a proper warm-up before – muscles need to be warmed to perform at their peak. Going “all-in” when the muscles are cold is the best way to get injured.
- Not getting enough rest – sleep and recovery time are important to give the body a chance to rebuild and strengthen tendons, ligaments, and muscle tissues
- Training when you’re seriously stressed, angry or emotionally weak – this might make you overcompensate in the gym and leads to injuries
When you get injured, the best thing to do is to seek proper medical care and see what treatment options are available to you. A physician might recommend rest, medication, and dietary changes to speed up your recovery.
On top of that, you can also engage in simple yoga asanas (postures) to alleviate your injuries and help your body heal damaged tissues.
How yoga can help?
There are numerous ways yoga can be of help when trying to alleviate an injury. This type of physical activity will gently warm and stretch the muscles which in turn will improve flexibility and blood circulation.
Yoga delivers more oxygen-rich blood to damaged tissues
If you do yoga for 5-10 minutes or more, you will begin to breathe more deeply and stimulate blood circulation. When more blood filled with oxygen and nutrients reach damaged tissues, it will speed up the recovery process.
Proper breathing while doing yoga helps to eliminate waste products
As you probably already know, muscle tissue gets damaged during exercise. This happens at a microscopic level. After a good cardio session, a lot of cellular waste products remain in the muscles as well as lactic acid and carbon dioxide.
When you do yoga and focus on your breathing, you literally clean up these waste products and cellular debris. This gives your body more time to build stronger muscle tissues (hypertrophy) and the cycle repeats itself over and over again.
Yoga makes muscles more flexible
Muscles have the possibility to become more flexible, more elastic, or more rigid or stiffer. As you probably can imagine, it is better to have more elastic muscles than stiffer ones. Why?
Flexible muscles can accommodate more blood filled with oxygen and nutrients. They are more resistant to damage, can support heavier loads and recuperate faster. Stiffer muscles, well, they don’t. And when they become really stiff, they hurt.
Yoga makes muscles stronger
This is done through isometric exercises. When performing an isometric exercise such as standing in plank position, the muscles are worked, but they don’t lengthen or shorten (you are not moving at all). You are basically training your muscles to become stronger using an isometric exercise.
Although yoga is not your go-to activity if you want to build muscle mass, there are definitely a lot of strength benefits to be reaped. Try doing yoga for a few times each week and you’ll soon discover that you can jump higher and lift more than you previously could.
What to do next?
Do yoga. That’s it.
Do yoga for injury prevention. Do yoga for injury alleviation. Do yoga to get more flexible and stronger.
Here’s a good video to get you started.