Whether it is used as a form of physical exercise or for therapuetic purposes, the benefits of yoga for runners are increasingly being recognized. For an activity that places heavy impact on the knees, ankles, and feet, yoga is a great way to counteract these injury-prone areas while contributing to other ends. Whether your goal is to improve your race times, run more efficiently, or simply having a more enjoyable pursuit of your passion for running with less chances of injury, yoga can surely help you achieve it.
Yoga Builds Strength
Being associated more often with spiritual disciplne and meditation, yoga is not considered by many people as a way of building strength and endurance. However, this is far from the truth. In many yoga poses, you are required to support the weight of your body in a variety of challenging ways. It is not uncommon to see a yoga pose which requires you to stand on one leg, even shifting your weight from one leg to the other in the process. Other poses need you to support your weight with your arms. These not only build stronger legs and arms but also strengthens your joints, leading to better and more injury-free running.
Yoga Develops Flexibility
Flexibility is among the many benefits runners can gain from yoga. In fact, it is one of the most important. Experts agree that more flexible muscles and joints are able to move through a wider range of motions allowing you to run more efficiently and with less injuries. Stretching is an essential part of yoga, making muscles more flexible while getting rid of lactic acid which causes muscles pain, stiffness, and tension. Stretching is also an essential part of running, limbering up your muscles in preparation for long stretches of exercise centered on specific muscle groups. Yoga poses stretch the muscles gradually and helps your muscles stay limber so that there is less pain during and after each run.
Yoga Improves Lung Capacity
Endurance sports like running require adequate oxygen intake for maximum performance. Yoga is one of the most effective ways for a runner to increase lung capacity. Learning how to breath deeply and properly is required in yoga, which works well for runners. Among the things you learn in yoga is breathing into the belly and not the chest. By doing this, you exercise your diaphragm muscle and more oxygen is taken into your lungs with each breath. This develops your lung capacity which subsequently inceases your ability to run longer and faster.
Many other benefits of yoga can be tapped by runners to improve and have a more fruitful pursuit of their chosen sport. Its benefits even go beyond the physical, like improving mental focus which is essential in running well over long distances. Whether you are a competitive or a recreational runner, yoga will definitely be good for you.