Yoga = a runner’s best friend

Runners of all levels can benefit from adding yoga to their exercise routine. Why? The physical and mental components of yoga help you increase muscle, prevent injuries, and enhance your focus. When it comes to running, yoga can help anyone from seasoned marathon runners to beginners training for their first 5K. Some of the many benefits of introducing yoga to your running regime include:



Regular Yoga Practice Strengthens Your Heart


Hot yoga and power yoga can help improve overall fitness by consistently getting your heart rate up and building muscle. This allows your heart to work better under stress and keeps you from getting winded during high-intensity activities. What does that mean for you? Speedwork and long runs will start to get easier.


Yoga Makes You Stronger


Yoga strengthens both the key supporting muscles used in running and the underused muscles. Strengthening your lower body, upper body, and core through yoga helps you gain more power on your runs and may help prevent injury, too. Talk about a win-win!

Stretching Consistently Prevents Injury


In addition to building strength, yoga increases flexibility. Many yoga flows focus on lengthening and stretching, which are key components of preventing injuries. Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles and improves the range of motion in your joints.


Yoga Helps Regulate Breathing


Conscious breathing is one of the most important parts of yoga. How does that help you run?  When sprinting or on a long distance run, focusing your breath can bring about a more relaxed mental state, while allowing you to feel alert and focused. Over time, breath work can increase oxygen intake and allow you to run further with less perceived effort.

Runners know all too well the aches, pains and tight muscles that commonly occur during or after running. The good news? Many yoga poses can help alleviate pain, prevent injury and even improve your breathing during your running sessions. Here are our top 3:
1. Downward-Facing Dog

Why it helps: This pose allows you to open up your calves and hamstrings and stretch your feet and Achilles tendon, making it the perfect yoga pose for runners. This pose improves circulation throughout the body as the head is below the heart.


How to do it: Keep your back straight and make sure you lift your sit bones high. You can leave your knees slightly bent if you like. If you want to stretch your calf and hamstring muscles, bend one knee and then the other. Your arms should always remain straight with your biceps facing up.


2. Standing Forward Fold

Why it helps: Tight hamstrings are likely the culprit of back pain and tension, which can in turn cause problems with the knees and hips. This pose is a great opener for the calves, hips and hamstrings... and helps to strengthen the quadriceps and knees.


How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend forward over your knees. Put your weight on your legs so you can hang naturally. Keeping your knees slightly bent will help you relax into your upper body.



3.Tree Pose


Why it helps: This pose is great for strengthening calves, ankles, thighs, and the spine, while simultaneously stretching the shoulders, groin, chest, and inner thighs, and opening the hips. Another benefit of tree pose is that it can also relieve sciatic pain.


How to do it: Stand upright and keep your back straight and your legs energized. Bring one foot up the inside of the other leg and place it there above the knee (not on the knee). The knee of the bent leg should point to the side, stretching your lumbar muscles. Reach both arms up above your head.



Indeed, yoga for runners has many benefits. Incorporate a few poses into your warm-up and cool-down routine today to promote pre-run readiness and post-run recovery.




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