Whether it is used as a form of physical exercise or for therapeutic purposes, the benefits of yoga for runners are increasingly being recognised. Running is a high impact exercise placing heavy force on the knees, ankles, and feet. Yoga is a great complementary exercise to do alongside running as it ensures the body is strong, flexible and more balanced which decreases the chance of injury and allows runners to focus on their running goals. Whether these are to improve race times, run more efficiently, or simply having a more enjoyable running experience. Here are the reasons why runners should consider adding yoga to their training regime.
Yoga Builds Strength Because yoga is often thought of as a spiritual disciplne and associated with meditation, many people do not consider it as a way to builde strength and endurance. However, this is far from the truth. In many yoga poses, you are required to hold a specific pose or support the weight of your body in for a prolonged period of time in a challenging way. For example yoga poses which require you to stand on one leg, or support your weight with your arms. These yoga poses not only help to increase the strength of the muscles in your arms and legs but the poses where you are weight bearing through your arms or legs also help to strengthen your joints, leading to better and more injury-free running.
Yoga Develops Flexibility Flexibility is another of the benefits runners can gain from yoga. If you have flexible muscles and joints you are more able to move freely through a wider range of motion which will allow you to run more efficiently and with less injuries. Stretching is an essential part of yoga, making muscles more flexible while getting rid of lactic acid which causes muscles pain, stiffness, and tension. Stretching is important for runners who should stretch to warm up their muscles in preparation for long periods of exercise centered on specific muscle groups. Yoga poses stretch the muscles gradually and help your muscles stay limber so that there is less pain during and after each run.
Yoga Improves Lung Capacity Endurance sports like running require adequate oxygen intake for maximum performance. Yoga is one of the most effective ways for a runner to increase lung capacity. Learning how to breathe properly and deeply is required in yoga, which works well for runners. Yoga teachers you to breathe into the belly and avoid shallow breathing into the chest. By doing this, you exercise your diaphragmatic muscles allowing more oxygen into your lungs with each breath. This develops your lung capacity which subsequently inceases your ability to run longer and faster.
Yoga Improves Focus It is well known that yoga's benefits go beyond the physical. Yoga works the mind as well as the body. Improving mental focus through yoga will assist runners who need good focus when running long distances. So whether you are a competitive or a recreational runner, yoga will definitely be good for you and is something that you should consider adding to your training regime.
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