Yoga for runners

Fish and chips, Bert and Ernie, Gin and Tonic – there are some things in life which are just made for each other. Yoga and running? Not so sure? Read on to see how runners can use yoga to make them stronger, healthier and happier…..

 

Runners often have a tendency to be one trick ponies when it comes to exercise. At Fit4 we see it all the time and it can often be a contributing factor in injuries. Yoga can actually complement your running, provide a balanced workout, reduce injury and make you a better runner.

While running is a great activity to develop cardiovascular fitness and develop strength in your leg muscles, the intensive nature of the workout means that many runners can complain of pain or stiffness in their legs or back. This discomfort can decrease the efficiency of your workout, or at worst sideline you completely.

Like any repetitive movement, running tends to overdevelop certain large muscles, leading to a muscular imbalance which can put stress on the joints. Yoga helps address these imbalances by working each muscle system as a whole and developing the smaller stabiliser muscles that support the main muscles used in running. It also increases flexibility, improves balance and core stability, and enhances your overall body awareness.

What’s in it for you? You’ll be less likely to pull a muscle or sustain other injuries while running, and will experiences fewer aches and pains and less stiffness after your runs. You’ll also enjoy a wider and more fluid range of motion, and improved focus and breath control – all of which will help fine-tune your technique and improve the efficiency of your run.

So where do you start? Yoga can be introduced in a variety of ways into your weekly programme. A class can be a good place to get started but not good for those who don’t have bags of spare time. At Fit4 we can teach you some key poses which you can do in the comfort of your home and at a time that suits you. Here are some the best to get you started.

Downward Facing Dog

A great hamstring and calf stretch as well as opening the arms and upper back which can get tight in runners.

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/downward-facing-dog/

Pigeon

The king of hip openers. Guaranteed to increase the flexibility of your hips before and after a run.

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/beginners/pigeon-pose/

Triangle

The quintessential yoga stretch – it doesn’t get much better than this…

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/extended-triangle-pose/

 Low crescent lunge

Another classic hip opener for you to enjoy

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/low-lunge/

Chair

Thigh burners don’t get any better than this – the ultimate quads and gluts strengthener

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/chair-pose/

If you want to get in touch with your inner yogi/yogini but don’t know where to start – see how Fit4 can help you improve your flexibility and strength and make you a better happier healthier runner!