When you add yoga to your running program, you’re sure to see benefits. Practicing yoga can be challenging, but it has many upsides. Team FitNice uses yoga to relax after every workout, training session or run and sometimes steps it up to use it as its own workout. Here are 5 great reasons to add yoga to your plan and improve your running.
1. Add yoga to increase flexibility. Excessive flexibility through every joint and muscle can actually decrease running performance, but wearing shoes, working out and sitting in a chair all day reduces the important ability to move hips, ankles and knees in a normal range of motion. Stretching restores the mobility to those joints, and a larger range of motion through the hips can increase stability. Moveable ankles, stable hips and steady core muscles mean better efficiency and more speed when you’re running.
2. Add yoga to breathe better. Practicing yoga helps with breath control, making your body more effective when you’re working hard during a long training run, a grueling speed work session or hitting a race course. Regulating your breath while running can aid in keeping your heart rate down and help keep you from panting like an overheated canine.
3. Yoga improves balance. When you add yoga to your program, you’ll have better stability, your running form will improve and so will your efficiency. Because most of us run in shoes and on roads, our balance can be underdeveloped. Poor balance can make the body work extra hard to stay upright and on course, but when you have good balance, it’s a bit easier. As a bonus, you’ll also be less likely to trip and fall the next time you hit a rocky section of the trail.
4. Use yoga to compliment your running routine. When gearing up for a big race and a new PR, use yoga disciplines like hatha or ananda to recover, stretch and relax. During less intense training times, kick up your yoga practice and push your body by trying a tougher form like vinyasa or power yoga.
5. Add yoga to decrease injuries. Yoga improves alignment of your spine and knee joint. Better alignment in combination with strengthening of the arches of your feet will lead to fewer injuries or chronic aches and pains. Better balance will help lower the risk of a dangerous spill and relaxing stretched muscles means both quicker recovery from hard workouts and less soreness.
Ready to give yoga a try? Find a studio near you and pick a few different classes to try. Not every discipline works for every runner and you should be willing to give a few forms a chance to find your fit. Want to try a bit of yoga at home? You can check out this photo album for some of Team FitNice‘s favorite, runner friendly yoga poses.