Tag Archives: yoga

5 Reasons to Add Yoga to Your Running Program

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 add yogareasons 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.

Staying Fit During Pregnancy

Your body is constantly changing during a 40 week pregnancy.  Your balance changes, your weight increases, and your bone structure can be altered too.  Working out will ease labor and delivery as well as helping you get back into pre-pregnancy clothes sooner.  Here are some ways to make sure you continue to have a healthy fitness routine for the duration of your pregnancy.

Stick with your current activities.  Be sure to stick with exercises you are comfortable with, rather than starting something new.  Gestation puts enough strain on the body all by itself, making it work even harder adjusting to a completely new mode of exercise can cause big problems.  If you’re a runner already, stick with it, but talk to your doctor about bringing mileage and intensity down.  Cross training?  Keep at that too, being careful of listening to your body and trying not to twist.  As with any exercise, make sure your physician has approved it for you.  If your doctor warns against something, or your body says ‘no’, listen up.  Pushing too hard during exercise can harm both you and your baby.

Stay off your back.  After your first trimester, the weight of the baby can slow blood flow going from the lower body back to the heart and cause damage.  The best core exercises during pregnancy will keep abs toned and strengthen pelvic floor muscles, examples are side planks and Kegels.  For more of a challenge, try planks or crunches on a stability ball.  Adding balance exercises with your core work will help prevent dangerous falls as your center of gravity changes.

Get into yoga.  Yoga will help strengthen much needed pelvic floor muscles for delivery, and breath control is a big part of pain management.  Yoga is also a good source of balance work, and the stretching component is guaranteed to help relieve some of the discomfort associated with pregnancy.

No matter what mode of exercise you choose, wear the right clothes, making sure your sports bra has enough support and you won’t overheat.  Your heart rate should stay below 140, so heart rate monitor would be a good investment.  A body temperature over 102 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 10 minutes can be harmful to the baby, and swimming is a great way to control some of these factors.  Swimming will bring your heart rate up, keep muscles working, and since you’re buoyant, there’s a lot less wear and tear on joints compared to going out for a jog.  The pool will also help maintain a safe body temperature and prevent overheating.

Keeping in shape during pregnancy also means you’ll get your pre-pregnancy body back faster after your baby is born because you will have packed on fewer pounds throughout its course.  Have questions about staying in shape during your pregnancy?  Email us!  Info@FitNicePT.com

Fitness Benefits of Yoga

Everyone has heard of yoga, and most people have a sense of what it is.  Whether you’re a yoga fanatic or someone who hasn’t ever thought about giving it a try, this type of workout can be a great compliment to your current routine.  Yoga has been practiced for over 5,000 years, and with the ultimate goal of uniting body, mind and spirit, it’s a great addition for runners, golfers and anyone else who spends a little time getting fit.

Yoga improves flexibility by working through a series of poses to safely stretch muscles and soft tissues.  Better flexibility decreases lower back pain and prevents post workout stiffness.  Flexibility will also give your body more power through a larger range of motion, generating more power in a golf swing and more fluid hip movement for runners.  The muscle balance demanded by yoga will also lead to improved club control for golfers, and for runners, yoga helps maintain body alignment and reduce the risk of injury.

Yoga requires deep, controlled, mindful breathing, and in turn creates a relaxation response from the body.  This relaxing effect has been shown to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with depression, help insomniacs fall asleep faster and improve mood states.  Improved breath control gives golfers a better swing rhythm, and benefits are seen when pregnant women practice prenatal yoga because it helps with breath control and pain management during labor and delivery.  Practicing power yoga in a heated room can, in itself, be a tough aerobic workout for any one.

It’s important to be aware of the risks of yoga as well.  Though it may sound nice and easy, it is possible to hurt yourself by overstretching and straining to reach that next pose.  People with severe osteoporosis, who are pregnant or have spinal problems should be aware of this increased risk and discuss their yoga training with a physician.  Warming up, staying hydrated, dressing properly and listening to your body are just as important when doing yoga as they are when going for a run or any kind of weight lifting workout, so take it seriously!

The best way to learn about yoga is to get out there and try a class!  You might not fall in love with the first style you try, so give each type a shot.  Find a studio near you, make sure you have a qualified instructor and take a friend.  For help finding and instructor or studio near you, contact us at Info@FitNicePT.com.