Many runners do not practise yoga and there are several reasons for this. For example, some may think they lack the flexibility, while others do not see the benefits of yoga and how it will help with their running.
However, yoga can offer a number of benefits to runners. A few of these are as follows.
1) Increases flexibility and reduces injuries
Yoga improves flexibility. It stretches tight muscles and as a result, will probably increase your range of movements – as well as making you aware of muscles that you may have never known that you had. This in turn, improves your ease of movement and reduces aches and pains. For runners, this will help them to become more agile and ultimately increase their running speed and cadence. At the same time, this added flexibility gained by doing yoga can also help reduce running injuries.
2) Improves strength
Yoga also increases strength. And it is also a full body workout, unlike running – which focuses mainly on the lower body. As such, many runners may have strong legs and glutes, but on the other hand, they may have weak upper bodies. So yoga will strengthen your upper body as well as your lower one and can improve running posture so that you may get less tired while running. For example, some endurance runners with weak upper bodies may slouch after a while because their body is having trouble supporting their weight. But by doing yoga, it can help to keep such problems at bay.
3) Improves breathing
Yoga also improves breathing. This is because many yoga poses require slow and deep inhalations together with long exhalations – making use of the upper, middle and lower parts of the lungs. Overall, this will allow greater lung capacity for runners and will improve their running performance as a result.
4) Speeds up rate of recovery for runners
Doing yoga to help recover after a run, can also improve and speed up a runner’s recovery process after a run. This is because the slower movements of yoga, unlike many other sports including running – actually oxygenates and energises the blood – instead of depleting it. So in this way, both the body and mind will feel more energetic after a post-run yoga session.
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