Take a deep breath
Many hockey players, including team captains Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Joe Thornton (San Jose Sharks) have added yoga to their fitness regimens. But they get more out of it than just stretching. Yoga teaches deep diaphragmatic breathing which, as Dr. Hays points out, helps to counter stress. This breath technique also increases lung capacity by engaging underutilized blood vessels in the lower lungs.
Dr. Kate Hays, a Toronto sports psychologist, has spent the past 25 years helping some of Canada’s most elite athletes cope with stress. These anxiety-reducing tips work well both on and off the ice.