Runners have a tremendous amount to gain from adding yoga to their fitness regimens. Because of its repetitive nature, running can lead to injuries and musculoskeletal imbalances. Yoga restores balance and symmetry to the body, making it the perfect complement to running.
In particular, through Yoga, runners can improve:
Yoga stretches the muscles that are tight, which in turn increases the range of motion in related joints. Increased flexibility decreases stiffness, results in greater ease of movement and reduction of aches and pains.
Running mostly strengthens the lower body, therefore certain muscles become strong while others are underused and remain weak.
A balanced yoga practice involves the entire body. Muscles that are not used as much while running are strengthened—specifically in the arms, upper torso, abdominals, and back.
Strengthening the upper body and core helps improve posture during daily activities and also while running. A strong core allows the arms and legs to move more efficiently, results in less fatigue, less weight impact on the legs, and a reduced risk of injury. A strong core creates a strong runner!
It’s also essential for runners to lengthen the muscles of the lower portion of the body as overly tight muscles are also weak ones. A healthy muscle is able to move through a healthy range of motion. It’s strong and flexible at the same time.
Overusing some muscles while underusing others creates muscular imbalances, which affect the entire musculoskeletal balance and impairs biomechanical efficiency. For runners, biomechanical imbalances eventually lead to pain and injury.
Through Yoga, runners can become stronger and reduce the chance of injury.
Lung capacity is of prime importance for runners, because it creates the ability to maintain an even breathing pattern through all phases of running. The better the lung capacity is, the more oxygen is circulated through the system, which is most helpful for running long and strong. However, the breathing pattern used in running and other forms of aerobic exercise involves quick and shallow inhalations and exhalations. This uses only the top portion of the lungs, leaving the middle and lower portions untouched. Yogic breathing involves slow, deep inhalations and long exhalations, making use of the upper, middle, and lower portions of the lungs. Yogic breathing has been shown to increase lung capacity, and greater lung capacity increases endurance and improves overall athletic performance.
AN ENERGISED BODY
Many forms of exercise deplete the body of its energy stores. Yet a yoga practice oxygenates the blood and creates more energy, leaving the body and mind feeling restored and energized. Yoga provides a vehicle through which the body can actively recover from the physical demands of running.
So if you are a runner, it’s time to book on a Yoga class! If your body is really tight, it may be uncomfortable at the beginning. Persevere and with time and practice the body will start to change soon. Should you have never done yoga before, start with a Beginners Level yoga class and progress from there.
If going to class intimidates you, think of a private or semi private class, for you an some of your runners friends.