If there's two things most runners dislike, it's breaking in new sneakers and yoga. In the running world, it's fairly common to hear that runners don't practice yoga. They stick to running and running only. The motions come easily and the endorphins come naturally. However, what runners might not know (or do know but avoid beliving it) is that yoga is extremely beneficial for them. Over the course of an average mile, a runners foot strikes the ground 1,000 times. With that repetition and the force of impact on each foot equally to three to four times your body weight, there's no surprise why runners have bad knees, hips, and sore feet. Not only is recovery and stretching a must, but so is yoga. Check out these top 3 reasons why runners should do yoga below.
1. Increased Flexibility
How often have you heard, or been, a runner that can't touch their toes? This results from having a tight back, hips, and hamstrings, all areas that are put under a lot of pressure when running. For obvious reasons, yoga helps increase this flexibility which is essential for runners who want to improve their times, effort, or simply just be able to touch their toes. Yoga soothes the tightness that affects the range of motion used while running and decreases the risk of injury. Have you ever pulled a hamstring? Yeah, it hurts a lot! A great yoga stretch for this is a sun salutation. This sequence stretches and strengthens the major muscles used for running which results in less painful toe touch and an easier run.
2. Better Breathing
One of the mastering techniques for running is controlling your breath. It impacts your heart and lungs, so a balanced breath goes a long way no matter how short or far your run is. A controlled breath differentiates whether you're sprinting or hauling out a long run. That's why different style yoga practices can work for both. Yoga uses your diaphragm which oxygenates your blood better than shorter breaths. A faster-paced yoga-like Vinyasa Yoga is great for sprinters because it has dynamic stretches that link movement and breathe together to spike your heart rate similar to a sprint. For long-distance runners, a Hatha Yoga is great because it works on slower moving basics that require full breathes, which are easy to control during a paced run.
3. Strengthens Key Muscles
Have you ever tried a warrior pose sequence? Holy moly, talk about shaky legs. As runners it's common to avoid yoga because you like to spike your heart rate and sweat during a run, but there are so many yoga poses that build key muscles your body demands on a run. A warrior pose is held by strong quad, glute, back, calf, feet, and even arm muscles. Try coming up with a good excuse that yoga doesn't help your running now. Strength building yoga poses are just as tough as your hardest workout or long run, but once you begin to practice yoga, you'll find that even your hardest running days have gotten a whole lot easier.
Yoga doesn't have to become your sanctuary, but if you're a runner, you should give it a try. If for no other reason, do it to relax your body and take some stress off your legs. Yoga is great for many reasons just like running. It allows you to touch your toes like a kid again, helps gather your breath and soothes you and build key muscles that your running stance needs. There are many reasons why runners should do yoga, but hopefully, these top 3 will get you on the mat to start.