Why Yoga is Great for Runners

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So lately I have really gotten into Yoga, especially Hot Yoga.  I first started practicing yoga off and on about 2 years ago.  I really enjoy Yoga because even on my off days I still want to do something active even though I know I need my rest…. Rest days are very important when training for a race. Running injuries are most often due to overuse.

The body is the sum of its parts and impairment of one affects them all.  For example, if the ankles are weak or the hips are not aligned, that can put strain on the anterior ligaments in the knees.  This can cause knee pain and much like a train on a track, a knee thrown off balance is equivalent to a train derailing.  I suffered from Runner’s Knee last year due to weak hip flexors, this was my first runner injury.

I choose to not allow chronic injuries set me back from running.  So after my first injury I decided that I will work harder to prevent anymore from occurring.  Not being able to run for about 3 months was really rough for me.  I went through a lot of downs during this time because running is my therapy, my time to myself to collect my thoughts, my way of relieving stress/frustration, my high.  I did find alternatives while I was working on strengthening my hips, like biking, the elliptical and I did Insanity during this time which helped strengthen my hips.

First off, if you are runner than you probably already know that the higher your VO2 Max the higher the capacity your body has to pump large amounts of oxygen-rich blood to working muscles.  A somewhat vigorous yoga practice can increase your oxygen capacity.  Yoga helps you concentrate on  taking deep full breaths in and out through your nose.  Breathing is our only means of supplying our bodies and its various organs with oxygen which is vital for our health.  We become fatigued from the decrease circulation of blood and from the decreased availability of oxygen for the blood.  This is why proper breathing during your runs is so important.  By practicing proper breathing in Yoga this allows us to increase our endurance in running.

Runners can use yoga practice to balance strength, increase range of motion, and train the body and mind.  Through consistent and systematic yoga conditioning, you can engage, strengthen, and place demands on all of your intrinsic muscle groups, which support and stabilize the skeletal system.  This can offset the effect of our (runner’s) one-dimensional workouts.

Yoga can release the lactic acid that builds up with muscle use, which causes stiffness, tension, pain, and fatigue.  It can also increase lubrication in the joints and increase range of motion in joints.  The outcome is a sense of ease and fluidity throughout your body.

Think of running as the linear part of your workout and yoga as its circular complement.

I am slowly improving in my practice

I hope this post motivates you to give yoga a try if you have not already.  You will feel the benefits from yoga quickly and understand why I am passionate about this practice.

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