Doing a variety of sports or different forms of exercise can be a great way to keep your fitness routine fresh and fun. It also means that we are using our bodies more dynamically, awakening muscles and joints that aren't used on a regular basis. Whilst this is undoubtedly a good thing, it makes it even more important that we take part in more frequent recovery and conditioning classes to prevent injury.
So whatever sport you play, from badminton to basketball, running to rollerblading, up your game on the court, track or field quicker with these poses for after a workout or to add to your home practice.
Even if you don't do the sport listed next to each of these exercises, they're still worth doing on a regular basis.
Pigeon pose – great for runners
One of the best hip-opening exercises, pigeon pose stretching many muscles that can get tight from running: hip flexors (including the psoas), glutes and lower back. Checkout this great wiki-how for a step-by-step guide on this pose. Feel the burn!
Camel – good for cyclists or those sitting hunched at a desk
Camel is a great back-bend pose to open the shoulders, stretch out the back while strengthening the legs and lower back. A fantastic exercise if you find yourself hunched at your desk or on a bike!
Triangle pose – good for one sided motions such as racket sports, and golf
Cutting shapes: triangle pose offers a great deep stretch of the legs, hips groin, ankles and knee joins while strengthening legs, abs, back and obliques. This can be helpful if you do sports which place loads on one-side of your body like racket many sports.
Low lunge – good for any sport involving running or sprinting
Another good one for the runners out there: low lunge is a classic which stretches the legs, groin and back while offering good test of balance and opening the chest. Get low, low, low, low...
Wide-legged forward bend – good for tennis, football, basketball
Sports which involve lots of lateral movement and rapid changing of direction can cause tight inner thighs and groins. Offset this with a deep wide-legged forward bed, stretching the hamstrings, groin and back while lengthening the spine. You'll be reaching new heights on the court in no time!
Plank – work that core
We recently shared 6 exercises to strengthen your core - it's something most of us don't do enough of, despite its benefits in protecting you from back pain and improving posture.
Plank is one of the most effective exercises for working your core so try to spend some time each day planking - gamify it by timing yourself and trying to beat your last 'high-score'. Be sure to keep a straight back with your core engaged throughout.