Yoga For Runners
Namaste, my running friends, it's time to get your stretch on if you want to level up your run. You may have heard about the benefits that you can get from incorporating a yoga routine into your training, but if not I'll walk you through a few of the main reasons you'll want to roll out your mat and strike a pose.
For a lot of runners, a lack of flexibility is common and often the reason they look to yoga as a way to loosen up tight, over stressed muscles. Even with a regular static stretching routine immediately following a run, mobility is often compromised. For this reason, yoga is a great way to get a full body stretch, loosening tightness and ultimately improving the range of motion in the related joints.
By increasing flexibility, overall stiffness is reduced and movement through the running stride is easier. Improved flexibility also helps to ward of nagging aches and pains when yoga is performed on a regular basis.
Typically runners are strong in a way that relates to running, however, the running stride primarily involves the lower body for the most part and the movement is on the sagittal plane (forward and back). This creates strength in specific muscles while others that are under used remain weak.
It only takes one yoga class to show a runner that legs that are strong in the stride will feel like jello when trying to hold a pose. This is because yoga activates all muscle groups across all planes of the body and not just the ones engaged while running. Weaker muscles fatigue quickly and tight muscles will definitely feel it quickly.
From the hips down is where the most muscle groups are called into action when running, however, yoga will call on muscles across the entire body. Moreover, yoga uses the person’s own body weight to create resistance, working against gravity to build the muscle and bone strength vital for overall health. Muscles strengthen by various methods of contraction, followed by rest and supported with proper nutrition. In running, the strengthening is primarily in the legs, whereas a balanced yoga practice contracts and stretches the muscles of the entire body.
Lastly, upper body and core strength is developed in a well-balanced yoga routine which has a direct impact on improving posture while running. A strong core and back promotes a more efficient stride and reduces the risk of injury.
One potential challenge that results from running is overusing some muscle groups and underusing others which can create an imbalance in the body. When this imbalance is compounded by increasing running mileage and physical stress the likelihood of pain, soreness and injury increases.
Yoga helps develop this much-needed balance by engaging opposing muscle groups. During poses, certain muscles need to contract while opposing muscles need to stretch. By building strength and flexibility simultaneously you are able to develop biomechanical balance over time. At no time is only one muscle group used. Even the simplest yoga pose requires an awakening of every part of the body.
Building lung capacity is key for runners and often while running, many of us take shallow and fast breaths. Yoga helps to teach a controlled breathing pattern by way of deep, slow inhalations and long exhalations. Yoga breath work has been proven to increase lung capacity, which ultimately for runners translates to improvement in athletic performance.
Although practising yoga doesn’t burn more calories than a run, it still has a place in your running program. An effective weight loss objective encourages maintenance of lean muscle and maximizes calories burned when combined with cardiovascular activity. Yoga should be used for active recovery and flexibility training between more intense workouts. The benefits of stress reduction and mindfulness associated with yoga could lead to improved sleep, better-eating habits, and increased self-awareness, which could mean more weight loss and improved maintenance of weight loss results over time.
Adding yoga to your weekly routine can be very simple with huge benefits. Spending 30 minutes 2 times per week to start will provide noticeable results in a short time frame if you stay consistent.
You can look for a class in your area or if you're more of a home body check out this video below which is an easy to follow routine that you can do in the comfort of your living room.
Happy running friends.......stay flexible! And of course leave a comment below with your thoughts!
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