Running is a great way to exercise and stay in shape, but as it is a vigorous and demanding physical workout which can cause injuries – pulls, strains, etc. However, there are ways to reduce your chances of injuries after a run by opting for a light yoga workout afterwards.
Yoga can help improve your blood circulation and oxygen flow to the muscles, ligaments and tendons. It can improve your flexibility, reduce soreness and speed recovery. In addition, it can enhance your range of motion, improve muscle strength and make your joints healthy. It develops balance, focus and core strength which helps with the running and overall fitness.
When you run on a regular basis, muscle imbalances cause misalignment which result in pain and pain interferes with performance. Yoga, especially after a run, it helps align the body’s muscle, reduce aches and pains and increase performance.
Yoga Poses for Runners
As a person runs, the feet absorb three to four times of the body weight with each step. The muscles of the feet and lower legs contracts and extend with each push and flex. The repetition of this action causes the calf and hip muscles to shorten and makes the pelvis tilt forward causing low back pain.
Yoga poses such as pigeon, warrior 1 and 2, upward facing dog and the wheel can rectify these problems and alleviate pain caused from muscle imbalance. In addition, yoga postures such as triangle, plough and knee to head forward fold can prevent hamstrings straining. These poses help elongate and strengthen the hamstring which plays an important role in injury prevention.
Maintaining a posture for over seventy two seconds produces amazing effects as it improves the ability to restore and rebuild connective tissues and skeleton. Runners use their bodies in a specific way and their muscles are used to the same type of exertion and force.
Yoga Sequence For Runners
Yoga can make you aware of the actions you are placing on the body and target almost every muscle in the body. Yoga is also helpful for cyclists, triathletes and almost anyone into physical activities. It relieves the stress exerted on the body by physical activities. Just ten minutes of yoga after a workout can greatly help in the prevention of potential injuries.
Here is a sequence of six poses that focuses on runners tightest and weakest spots to reduce the risk of injury and improve overall body strength and motion.
1. Triangle: Stretch the inner and outer side of the hips and thighs which strengthens the legs and core.
2. Pyramid: Stretch your hips and hamstrings which strengthens the core and quads.
3. Quadriceps Stretch in Lunge: Stretch your front leg’s hamstring and flex the back leg’s hip and quadriceps.
4. Pigeon Forward Fold: Stretch the hip muscle including the piriformis and iliotibial band.
5. Happy Baby: Stretch your hamstrings and groin as it helps release tension in the back.
6. Head to Knee: Stretch your calves and hamstrings using a strap for assistance if your legs are tight.
If you want suggestion from a pro you might want to look into the book “Yoga For Runners”, by Christine Felstead. She has an extensive history as a long-distance runner and yoga instructor.
Christine Felstead has married her twin passions into a pioneering program for runners. She teaches yoga classes and workshops for runners and endurance athletes.
She has been featured in numerous publications, including Runner’s World, Women’s Running, Yoga Journal, , Women’s Health, Library Journal, and Canada’s National Post
Felstead presents regularly at International Yoga Expos and canfitpro conferences and has produced two best-selling DVDs on yoga for runners
Yoga is a perfect complement to running as it relieves aches and pains, prevent and heal injuries and restore the body’s balance and symmetry. It improves strength and flexibility and brings the mind relaxed after a run or any physical activity. In short, a couple of minutes of yoga should be incorporated after each workout session.