What are the Benefits of Yoga for Runners?

Dan Cavallari

Yoga for runners is a great way to increase flexibility, reduce the risk of injury, and relax the mind and the body in preparation for races or regular running. Any time a runner stretches the muscles of the body, the benefits can be felt immediately; yoga for runners encourages such stretching, thereby helping to keep muscles healthy and to balance the body correctly. Runners often train vigorously, which means muscles can become tight. This may, in turn, lead to pain and tightness throughout the body as muscles pull on bone, thereby leading to imbalances. Yoga for runners can help alleviate such pain and improve balance and muscle function.

Runners use yoga to increase flexibility.
Runners use yoga to increase flexibility.

Running can be very high impact on the body, and joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones are likely to experience pain at some point throughout one's running career. Yoga for runners will help prevent and alleviate such high impact injuries by stretching muscles and conditioning other elements of the body to increase strength and overall health. Yoga positions encourage stretching, which prevents muscles from pulling on bones, particularly those of the back and hips. When muscles tighten, they pull bones out of place, leading to improper function of joints during the running motion. This can lead to injury and chronic pain. Yoga for runners will help avoid such problems and correct imbalance issues that already exist.

Many yoga poses increase flexibility and strength, particularly in the core abdominal muscles.
Many yoga poses increase flexibility and strength, particularly in the core abdominal muscles.

Yoga also increases core strength. Core muscles are any of the muscles that support the spine; these include the muscles of the lower back, hips, stomach, and groin. Yoga exercises often tend to focus on stretching and strengthening these important muscles that promote good posture and proper spinal function. Running is a high-impact sport, and the spine bears the brunt of much of the impact from regular running. Strengthening the core muscles can help prevent undue stress from reaching the spine, consequently helping to prevent painful conditions such as spinal compression and herniated discs in the spine.

Breathing techniques are also an important facet of yoga for runners, and these breathing techniques can lead to better breathing techniques and capacity during running activities. Yoga activities often feature focused breathing, which makes the body more efficient at delivering oxygen to the body. This promotes better muscle performance and even possibly quicker muscle recovery. Breathing techniques during yoga also promote relaxation, which can help the mind and body recover from everyday stresses as well as the specific stresses associated with running.

Yoga helps improve balance and muscle function.
Yoga helps improve balance and muscle function.

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Discussion Comments

truthunter

By all definitions, yoga is a religion. Before you get too involved in yoga, do some investigation.

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