Contrary to popular opinion, yoga isn’t an activity exclusively practiced by women. That’s a myth. Fellas have been turning to yoga increasingly over the years and in particular in North America with a number of top pro-athletes like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, LeBron James, to name a few, leading the way and turning the practice into the vogue thing to do amongst men.
Yoga is demanding. It tests physical and mental endurance while improving flexibility and balance. It’s not just about contorting one’s body into crazy difficult positions. It’s an experience and an education like no other, learning to be inside your body and getting to know your body intimately while embracing its ability as well as its limitations as they are in the present.
The rewards of yoga are wide-ranging, from better physical and mental awareness to increased lung capacity, strength, and endurance. It’s great for reducing stress and anxiety and in turn promoting calm and relaxation. It allows athletes to be more in tune with their bodies and minds so that they can better identify potential problems and prevent injury.
So, it makes fundamental sense for male athletes to grab their mats and learn how to move in a healthy manner. And this becomes more important as athletes get older and look for ways to stay in shape in order to continue competing at a high level.
In this article, we look at three elite athletes that remain viable in their respective fields despite their advanced age.
And it so happens that they all do yoga in some shape and form.
Tom Brady, who is pushing 44 years of age next month, is a huge proponent of yoga. Even showing off his yoga moves on the sidelines at Gillette Stadium once, during a preseason game in his last season with the New England Patriots in 2019.
Brady has made no secret about his ambition to play for as long as possible. He loves football. He loves playing the game. And he’s a massive fan of the sport. But he also loves winning and towards that end, he has committed himself to be the best football player he can be. Not for nothing has he won a record seven Super Bowl titles.
Although practicing yoga isn’t solely behind Brady’s unrivaled success in the game – much of his success has to do with other factors such as talent, skill, organization, team, supporting cast, and coaching. And yet, his commitment to the practice of yoga arguably has contributed significantly to his longevity in the NFL, defying reason and historical trends that would suggest a player of his age cannot possibly be a viable contender anymore.
Brady is flush off an incredible record-setting seventh Super Bowl title, a triumph that defied the NFL odds and preseason expectations. Going into the 2021-22 NFL season, he’s set to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as one of the top two teams to win Super Bowl 56 according to betanysports.
It used to be that NFL players would play until their late twenties and only a few went on to play into their early thirties. Brady, however, has changed the script by turning these preconceived notions on their head. Not only is he still playing but he’s also winning Super Bowls in his 40s.
“It’s great for flexibility, it’s therapeutic and great for your attitude,” Brady told TheSportster.com in 2017. Adding that “regardless of your workout choices, all of us can use more flexibility and quicker recovery.”
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is another NFL yogi that credits the practice of making him feel 10 years younger. Rodgers, who pushes 38 years of age at the end of this year, added yoga to his offseason training repertoire almost a decade ago and he’s kept it up ever since.
Rodgers at 37 completed one of his best seasons in the NFL which culminated in an MVP award, his third over his illustrious 16-year career in the NFL. Rogers came one game short of reaching the Super Bowl, losing somewhat ironically to his older counterpart Tom Brady in the NFC Championship game.
“A lot of flexibility is helping with those injuries as you get older,” Rodgers told ESPN.com in 2014. Rodgers also credited yoga with getting better sleep and feeling more energetic in the morning.
Arguably, the face of the NBA, LeBron James is another household name athlete that has turned to yoga in his training repertoire. The LA Lakers star has credited yoga for his incredible stamina during the season. As well, doing regular yoga during the season has helped him with cramps and injury, amongst other benefits.
LeBron James began practicing yoga over a decade ago and he’s maintained his commitment to the practice ever since. At 36 years of age, he’s showing no signs of slowing down or retiring. Why only last year he picked up his fourth career NBA championship title with the LA Lakers.
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