After pop singer Madonna and tennis ace Andy Murray, yoga has another devotee in Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, who says the Indian fitness regime is behind his longevity which has left him one short of a sensational 1,000 appearances.
Only flecks of grey mark out the brilliant Welshman as a 39-year-old, who made his Man-U debut as a substitute in 1991. Since then he has made a club record 931 appearances, scoring 168 goals. With his international appearances for Wales and Britain in the Olympics added, his tally is a breathtaking 999.
Giggs says he owes it all to yoga.
“The yoga has definitely helped me. It helps me train every day because it gives me the flexibility and the strength, not only to play the game but to train as well,” he said. “I rarely miss a training session, even (if I do) a little less than the younger players I still go out and train.”
Man-U legend Dennis Irwin said Giggs began practicing yoga in his 20s when he had hamstring problems, adding: “That sorted it out”.
Giggs, the most decorated player in English soccer with 12 Premier League winners’ medals, isn’t about to hang up his boots. On Friday, Man-U manager Alex Ferguson, who is a big fan of Giggs, said the player had signed a contract to carry on playing next season.
“He still retains that wonderful youthfulness in the way he plays, he still has great balance and a change of pace,” Ferguson said. “He still has his fitness and he still gets you a goal.