Incorporating yoga into your fitness regimen has many benefits, especially for runners.
Although most runners are in excellent shape, many suffer from a lack of overall strength and flexibility. This is because running causes your body to hit the ground repetitively, which compounds all of your joints, ligaments, and muscles.
Over time this causes your muscles to become stiff and shortened. The many benefits of yoga for runners make yoga the yin to running’s yang.
The practice of yoga works with your body to release the work that all that repetitive compounding has done. Keep reading as we break down the 7 benefits of yoga for runners.
The biggest benefit of yoga is its impact on flexibility. Flexibility allows your body to move with ease and freedom. Through the practice of yoga, you will gain this flexibility in all areas of the body.
Runners are particularly prone to having their legs and hamstrings become extremely inflexible and tight. By practicing yoga, you will release this tension from your body and help to prevent injury while running.
By creating elasticity in your joints, ligaments, and muscles, you will notice a new sense of freedom in your run — because your tight muscles won’t be holding you back.
Although running does build strength, it only builds this strength in certain areas. Yoga is a full-body workout, increasing your balance and strength, so it targets all muscle groups. Including those left out during your run.
Because running primarily targets your quads and hamstrings, not only do these muscles often become fatigued, but other muscle groups suffer from not being used. Yoga works to strengthen your entire body, from your shoulders to your core to your hips and even your feet.
And this overall strength will help you when going on a long run. You’ll begin to experience higher endurance and ease in your running since now your whole body is strong and involved.
This newfound strength will also help alleviate aches and pains often caused by muscle groups that have been inactive.
Range Of Motion
Just like when it comes to flexibility, most runners also have a limited range of motion when it comes to things outside of running. When you are running, your body is moving forward and backward in a repetitive motion.
So runners often see their range of motion impacted when trying to do any movement that causes them to go side to side or diagonal. This makes a runner more prone to injuries when this type of motion does have to be done.
Yoga focuses on your range of motion in every direction and works to strengthen your body’s overall ability to move. By doing yoga postures like Warrior II and revolved head to knee, you’ll begin to notice a big difference in the feeling of your hips and back.
This new found range of motion will help to prevent injuries and make you a more well-rounded athlete.
Many runners struggle with lower back pain and posture issues due to the constant compounding running does to your spine. The practice of yoga involves a lot of work on spinal health through various twists and stretches.
This will help to nurture your back and relieve the pressure caused by running. Yoga also focuses on improving your posture, which is the foundation for proper running technique.
Alignment in the body is a key aspect of both yoga and running, so by practicing yoga you’ll be working on improving your spine and spinal alignment.
It’s standard practice in yoga to put a big emphasis on breathing techniques and breath control. By learning to focus on your breath while practicing a physical movement, you are working to make the mind-body connection.
This connection is crucial when running, so that you can regulate your breath and maintain your pace for longer. Instead of just mentally checking out during your run, yoga will teach you to engage your mind and focus on having a steady breath.
This mind-body connection will also help you to pay attention to your posture, body positioning, and core engagement.
Running is not only about physical endurance but also about mental endurance. Our minds often want to give up on a run before our body does. Yoga helps you learn mental discipline by teaching you to overcome the ego and listen to your body.
Yoga is a restorative practice and helps put you in the mindset of being comfortable with the uncomfortable. This is a skill that can be beneficial as a runner.
Yoga teaches you to be fully in the moment and gifts you the mental clarity of enjoying each breath and not worrying about how much further you have to go.
Yoga also works to strengthen your concentration and give you the mental determination to push through when things get tough. All of these mental benefits not only help you while running but are also great for all areas of life.
Yoga is also beneficial for stress relief. This not only helps to improve your body by aiding in releasing tension but also helps to improve your mindset.
When you are overworked and stressed out it can be hard to stay focused, to sleep, and especially hard to stay motivated to run.
By getting rid of this stress through the practice of yoga, you will sleep better and have a clearer mindset before setting out on a big run.
Experiencing The Benefits Of Yoga For Runners
If you wish to experience these many benefits of yoga for runners the best way to start is by incorporating yoga into your everyday routine. There are many different styles of yoga, so try them out and see which one works best for your body.
For more tips on practicing yoga, check out our blog!