Every time I end up with a running injury I’m reminded that I really need to stretch. Not just that perfunctory stretch I pretend to do that probably just makes things worse, but a long, range of motion, stabilize the body type of stretch. I can almost feel the muscle tightness, but never take the time after a run to really get those muscles back in shape.
Though it may be hard for type A runners to slow down long enough to maintain a downward dog, it makes good sense to incorporate yoga into your running routine if you want to improve your running technique.
Here are 3 reasons why runners need yoga:
- Yoga strengthens your core – A stronger core helps keep your body stable while you’re running and decreases your chances of being injured. Yoga is a complete, total body workout that works the outer body and inner body at the same time, protecting your internal organs. It works both the large muscles in the body and the smaller ones, targeting the respiratory, skeletal, and cardiovascular systems. Yoga uses your own body weight to make you stronger. It also stabilizes your back and neck.
- Improves breathing – Runners who do yoga ensure more oxygen is circulating throughout the body. Yoga targets the upper, middle and lower portions of the lungs, something running doesn’t incorporate. Yoga gives you increased lung capacity, which improves both endurance and running performance.
- Increases flexibility – There are several ways runners can increase their flexibility, and yoga is one of those. Yoga is great at increasing your range of motion and helping to prevent injuries. Yoga stretching allows you to extend your muscles through their full range of motion, actually making it easier to run. And what runner doesn’t want that?!
I’ve always resisted yoga as being too slow and boring, but if it can help make my running faster and easier, I’m ready to give it a try. What about you? Are you a runner who swears by yoga?