Running is one of the best exercises you can do to improve your physical fitness and cardiovascular health. People who love running outdoors get the added benefit of fresh air and also reconnecting with nature. Even with all those benefits, running is a high-impact exercise, so it’s essential not to overdo it. (I have unfortunately done this many times int he past!) To support your body in your running practice, yoga is something you may want to consider. Keep reading for 5 reasons runners should try yoga.
1 . Breathing techniques
During yoga classes, you are encouraged to breathe deeply and allow the breath to guide you deeper into each posture. There are many different breathing techniques to learn during yoga classes, and you’ll find that over time this may allow you to improve your performance in class. Breathwork is also important during running, as failure to breathe properly restricts the lungs and makes it more challenging to maintain stamina and pace.
2. Improve core strength
Yoga is a fantastic practice for improving core strength. I have scoliosis and have often been told by doctors to work on core strength and do more yoga! From your quads to your hamstrings, yoga works every muscle in your body. Building up your core strength can also help to reduce your chances of sustaining an injury when you are running. Although running is excellent cardio, it can be a little tough on the joints and muscles. With regular yoga practice, you can balance out the high-impact with some gentler stretches and strength building.
3. Get flexible
Bless it. I am literally one of the least flexible people on the face of the earth. One of the best things about yoga is that it improves your flexibility which helps in just about every form of exercise. Yoga postures can help to loosen up the ligaments, joints, and muscles, so you can run without feeling stiff and tight. Improving your flexibility will also increase your mobility as you age. Once you’ve been practicing yoga for a month or so, you’ll soon notice improved flexibility when tackling day to day physical activities.
4. Improved posture
Another excellent benefit of yoga is that it helps to improve your posture, which is something I really need to work on. During yoga sessions, you’ll learn how to perfect your posture by holding your body correctly in each pose. As a runner, you probably already know that great posture is essential. Failing to maintain the correct posture when running could lead to back problems or issues with your joints, and it can make it harder to get in a good deep breath.
Whether you’re a runner or not, yoga is a great way to destress after a long, hard day. Yoga can help you to feel relaxed and peaceful, and give you a chance to just be quiet and think. Often, relaxation can be tricky to approach as a beginner, yet yoga classes are an easy way in. Some meditation sequences focus on the breath, others on clearing the mind. There are also meditation sequences that involve repeating a mantra to yourself, be this for good health, or expressing gratitude.
Before you get going, be sure to get yourself some yoga class essentials, from yoga pants to your very own mat. Most classes provide mats but it’s nice to have one so you can also practice at home. Also, there are many yoga videos on YouTube or if you prefer there are plenty of fun yoga apps. Before long yoga poses will be part of your pre-running routine. Let’s all get stronger, more flexible, and have better posture, together!