Yoga aids Pompey striker’s Hunt to keep going

Noel Hunt. Picture: Joe Pepler
Noel Hunt. Picture: Joe Pepler
Christian Burgess. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Noel Hunt has turned to yoga to prolong his career.

The Pompey striker believes the exercise will help him extend his playing days and told of how it has invigorated his well-being.

Hunt has outlined how he has changed his ways as he approaches the twilight of his time on the pitch.

And he is hoping Blues youngsters can benefit from his experience by employing the same approach.

The concept of practising yoga would have been laughed off in football a decade ago. It has gained credibility, however, off the back of Ryan Giggs citing it as they key to extending his playing career.

Gareth Bale and the German national side are others who employ the ancient exercise which has now moved into the mainstream.

Hunt explained it was Giggs speaking of yoga’s benefits which led to him going down the same path.

And he is hopeful it will help him to play on with the 34-year-old having no intention of hanging up his boots yet.

Hunt said: ‘I do a bit of yoga and it’s been good.

‘For me, I’ve been doing it for about a year now and I feel great with it.

‘Ryan Giggs said he felt it prolonged his career so I got it from that. It’s definitely worked for me.’

Starting yoga is typical of the changes Hunt has made to his regime as his career has progressed.

That extends to his eating habits and approach to training.

Hunt is happy to pass on the benefit of his experience to Pompey’s young players.

He said: ‘When you hit your 30s you have to look at ways to prolong your career.

‘That’s by eating right and training right.

‘You say to the likes of the Conor Chaplins that if you start these things early it will benefit you.

‘When I was Conor’s age I was still in Ireland.

‘I had people talking to me and now I’m talking to them.

‘For me, it’s important to try to help people not make the same mistakes I did.’

Hunt explained he’s learnt from others about how to approach his work through a long career which has taken in spells at the likes of Dundee United, Reading and Leeds after leaving Ireland in 2003.

He pinpointed Wales international Hal Robson Kanu as a player he watched off the pitch and admired for his thorough approach to looking after his body.

Hunt admitted he had to put aside personal feelings to benefit from his former Reading team-mate’s way of going about his business.

He said: ‘One of the best I’ve seen, and I never liked him, was Hal Robson Kanu.

‘I never liked him as a lad but ended up loving him because he did it right.

‘He does it right every day in the gym – an hour before and an hour after.

‘I didn’t see eye to eye with him all the time but I admired his discipline.

‘He’d be going in before training every day to do his routine.

‘That’s one of the things you see and end up thinking fair play to him.

‘You need to be a 24-7 pro in this game nowadays.

‘You can’t have cheat days anymore. It doesn’t work. It’s only a short career.’