|Yoga A Must For Serious Runners|
Regular yoga offers 5 key benefits to runners.
1. Injury Prevention
Runners are prone to injuries and that’s no surprise considering the amount of stress their knee joints, calves, hamstrings and ankles take. New runners also face problems of the lower back and shoulders due to bad postures while running.
Yoga corrects posture problems. Additionally, yoga stretches and elongates tight muscles and makes them more pliant and supple, thus preventing cramps and other related injuries.
2. Better Breathing
Several yoga asanas, including the simple pranayamas, teach you to be aware of your breaths and to pace them evenly and properly. When running, correct breathing is a must.
If you learn to control your breathing, you can pace your run better. This means you can achieve greater speeds without sending your heart rate skyrocketing.
3. Better Mental Balance
Runners need mental balance for better focus and for the prevention of burn outs. Running is such a competitive sport, the need to win or stay in the race is always strong. There is always another hurdle to cross – clock better time, go longer distances, train for the Iron Man!
Yoga offers a tranquil counter balance to the hectic competitiveness of running as a sport. Since there is no first or second in yoga, nor is there a measurement for how well you are doing in comparison to others, yoga offer you the calm that running lacks.
4. Low Impact Warm Ups And Cool Downs
Running in itself is a high impact sport. Yoga asanas aim to improve flexibility of your muscles, give you better balance and provide you with better range of motion without torturing your joints.
Yoga routines, especially flowing asanas like the Surya Namaskars (sun salutations), are great as warmup yoga for runners.
Similarly, post runs, when the hamstrings are usually sore and tight, asanas such as the Utthan Pristhasana (lizard lunge) and Kapotasana (pigeon pose) are great for wind-downs.
5. Low Impact Muscle Training
Running taxes a lot of muscles. While the large ones such as the glutes, quads and hamstrings will let you know loudly and painfully that they have worked hard, smaller muscles often don’t get the credit they deserve.
So what about the tibialis anteriors and the poroneals? You can train them with yoga.
Asanas such as Baddha Konasana (bound ankle pose) can be used to stretch these, while asanas such as Virbhadrasan (warrior pose) can be used for strengthening these muscles.
As you can see, you simply cannot ignore or undermine the great mental, physical and spiritual benefits of yoga for runners.