Running is a great sport. It gives you a strong cardiovascular workout, it burns lots of calories, and it can be done by almost anyone. Competition in running can be tailored to your skill level easily, and most runners seem to like just competing against themselves. This makes getting into running relatively easy, and a successful way to push yourself. Running can also be somewhat hard on your body. There are a number of injuries that runners are prone to, but these can be prevented in several ways. Yoga is a great way to prevent these injuries, and it can also improve your running performance.
Common Running Injuries
As a runner, you may have experienced some of these common running ailments. Knee pain, pulled hamstrings, and ankle injuries are all regularly dealt with by runners. While running too much is a likely cause for all of these, taking time away from exercise is not your only option. Cross training, which is when you do a different sport to give yourself time away from the track, is recommended. This lets you still get a solid workout in, but it relieves some of the running specific pains.
Yoga to Prevent Common Injuries
Cross training can be done in a number of different ways, but yoga is very highly recommended. The lower impact of yoga really gives your knees, hips, and ankles time to recover. The deep stretching that is a staple to yoga practices also help your body recover from the abuse of running. In addition, many of the yoga poses focus on gentle strengthening of your supporting tissues, which reduces the likelihood of tears, strains, and sprains in the major joints.
Yoga also helps strengthen the muscles that are not used in running as much. Sticking just to running can cause some muscle imbalances that can cause damage to your body. This is why hamstring pulls are seen so regularly. Running uses the front of your leg a lot, which is your quadriceps. Now as you run, you build strength in that muscle, but the muscle in the back, your hamstring, does not get any stronger. This imbalance can cause your quadriceps to overpower your hamstrings, leading to injury. It is important to keep these muscle groups in balance, and yoga can help you do that.
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Yoga to Improve Running Performance
There are many different parts of the body that are involved in running. Yoga can help strengthen many of the more forgotten pieces. Your core, for example, is used a lot during running. A strong core is going to allow your stride to be more effective, which gives you greater speed with less effort. Yoga and core work go hand in hand, and you can see great improvement in your speeds and endurance with regular practice. Yoga also helps strengthen many of the parts around your knees and ankles. This allows you to train harder and longer, which builds up your running capacity quickly.
Many parts of your running successes are positively impacted through yoga. Stretching and strengthening provided through a yoga practice will reduce your chance of injury. It also lets you run more, with less wear and tear on your joints, and with less effort. Improvements in both speed and endurance can be seen in your running performance when you practice yoga regularly.