Recent research suggests that additional bendiness and muscle strength might not be the only benefits that spill over from yoga practice into sports performance. A study from Khon Kaen University, in Thailand, found that respiratory function improved in a group of volunteers who completed regular hatha yoga sessions. Forced expiratory volume (the amount of air you can expel in one second) and forced vital capacity (the total volume you can blow out after a full inhalation) are important measures of lung function, and both of these improved. The subjects' lung expansion capacity also increased. 'Greater expansion of the chest wall provides more oxygen with each breath and requires less effort to breathe,' explains lead researcher Raoyrin Chanavirut. While the subjects were all young, healthy adults, Chanavirut believes that yoga might help people with asthma and other respiratory problems breathe easier.
Tri as you may
I always thought of the triathlon as an elitist sport, but now that I've dipped my toes in the water (not to mention slipped them into the pedals and the running shoes), I can report that it is surprisingly beginner-friendly. Triathlon is booming in the UK right now, with races taking place nationwide throughout the summer, but newbie girls looking to make their tri debut should get down to the women-only Timex Triathlon next Saturday, June 24, at Dorney Lakes in Eton. 'Our aim is to stage an event that caters for all abilities and ages, and creates a friendly, fun, non-intimidating environment,' says race director John Lunt. There are novice, fun and challenge distances to choose from - or you can enter a relay team and persuade an unwitting friend to do that open-water swim. The mixed-gender Trek Dorney Triathlon - offering Olympic and Challenge distances - is on the following day, Sunday June 25. For details, visit humanrace.co.uk, but hurry - entries are not accepted on the day for either event.
Roll with it
If I were an inventor, one of the things I'd invent is an inline skate/shoe hybrid with removable wheels. Great for rolling around town, but also fine for the shops, office or pub - and negating the need to lug a pair of shoes with you. Happily for me - since I am no James Dyson - Salomon has beaten me to it with its new Smartskate. With the wheels on, it's robust enough to negotiate urban obstacles such as potholes, humped zebra crossings and kerbs; stripped down it becomes a comfy and handsome trainer. Best of all, you can whip off the wheels in 10 seconds; perfect if you plough into a bunch of pedestrians - they'll never know it was you.
The Smartskate Chill LX for men, and Irony LX for women, both come with a bumbag to store the wheels and skate skeleton, and cost £130, from Club Blue Room in London, or by mail order from 020-7724 4884 (salomoninline.com).