Yoga for Runners? Four Reasons Why RunStrong Suggests Adding Yoga to Your Fitness Routine.
If you’re a runner, you know you want to reduce the impact of running on your body while also increasing flexibility and strength. While training for distance running, it’s important to weigh these factors when creating your exercise program.
RunStrong, a sponsor of the Kansas Half-Marathon, recently partnered with Carrie Mandigo, owner of Lava Yoga, to offer their participants a yoga class geared for the flexibility and strength needs that are typical of runners.
“Yoga for runners can help improve balance, increase strength and range of motion, and sync breathing,” Mandigo said. “Yoga helps make running more efficient. Although it might seem that yoga and running lie on opposite ends of the spectrum, they are complementary opposites.”
According to Mandigo, there are significant benefits of yoga for the runner including:
Reducing the physical stress that results from running.
Yoga’s internal focus improves balance, increases strength and range of motion, and trains the body and mind. Breath is coordinated with each subtle movement, allowing the runner to engage and strengthen all of the intrinsic muscle groups, which support and stabilize the skeletal system. The end result is having the body, mind and breath integrated in all actions. This can offset the effects of a runner’s one-dimensional workouts.
Increasing awareness and confidence during running.
Developing a greater understanding of the body and how it works allows runners to respond to messages the body sends them. Yoga teaches that each day is distinct, much like each run. Energy levels fluctuate daily, even hourly, thus it’s important for one to have a sense of their reserves. This heightened awareness keeps runners from powering through every workout mindlessly and instead respecting the body’s limitations.
Maximizing focus and relaxation
Varying energy levels can be maximized by focusing on another non-kinetic aspect of yoga, which is relaxation. By bringing the body into a state of repose, one becomes more effective at using and conserving strength. Relaxation allows energy to burn at a more efficient level. The resulting increased vigor means greater freedom of movement and ultimately, more enjoyment of physical activities. Tension is the athlete’s downfall, and breath awareness is key to reducing it.
Reducing the risk of injury
Yoga reduces the risk of injury. Don’t ignore the body’s signals – take a break when needed and learn to recognize when rest is appropriate. Start incorporating yoga postures into the warm-up and cool-down portions of a workout. Think of running as the linear part of the workout and yoga as its circular complement. Remember, your body is on your side. It has an inherent intelligence to bring about a state of equilibrium no matter how many times feet hit the pavement.
With the Kansas Half-Marathon & 5K less than two months away, RunStrong aims to educate participants and the public about safety and health topics related to running.
“We are thrilled to partner with Heartland Community Health Center on the Kansas Half-Marathon,” said Autumn Bishop, Marketing Manager and Content Strategist for RunStrong and LMH Health. “The Kansas Half-Marathon is a perfect event for RunStrong to participate in. As a team of physical therapists, athletic trainers, and strength and conditioning coaches, RunStrong is passionate about supporting the unique physical needs of the runner.”
The Kansas Half-Marathon & 5K is presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and takes place on November 6, 2022. Proceeds from the event go to support Heartland Community Health Center in their mission to provide affordable health care access to all.
Click here to learn more about the Kansas Half Marathon and to sign up.
Click here to learn more about the RunStrong program.