There are many, many, great benefits to running and especially during these challenging times. Many have taken to it as a means of stress relief and to get some vital exercise while we all eagerly wait for gyms to fully reopen. Not everyone reading this will have only just taken up running however, there are likely to be many who have been pounding the treadmill and pavement for years. Regardless of your running experience, the potential for injury is sadly a real possibility for everyone. Josh Douglas-Walton, a marathon runner, yoga lover and editor for HFE, the UK’s most popular provider of personal trainer courses and fitness qualifications, offers some incisive yoga tips. Read on for Yoga for Runners: 3 Ideal Poses!
Yoga for Runners
Many say that injuries are inevitable as running involves a lot of repetitive, high impact activity that puts the body under significant stresses and strain. Back, knee, hip, ankle and shoulder pain are all incredibly common in runners.
Now, there are many things a runner can do to mitigate the chance of getting a potentially serious injury which include not increasing mileage too much, too soon, wearing the correct footwear and of course, making sure you get enough rest in-between runs. Another sure-fire way is to mix up the type of exercise/training you do, making your entire fitness all about running is only going to the increase your risk of injury.
Yoga is just one of those all-encompassing forms of exercise that will help you stay on your feet and injury-free. Not to mention, yoga for runners can also be an effective tool for stress relief and relaxation. Here are just a small selection of yoga poses that will help you as a runner. Each of these exercises can be done in isolation, alternatively, you might want to have a go at linking them together to create a flow. Ultimately, give them a try and find out what works best for you!
A classic ‘yoga for runners’ pose if ever there was one. This stretch is great for targeting tight hamstrings, something many, many runners suffer with. You can also use this one to work on your calf muscles as well as strengthen your arms and shoulders. As with all the poses you’re about to see, don’t worry if you don’t look like a professional yoga teacher when you’re in position, the important thing is you don’t hurt yourself. The downward-facing dog can be adapted by bending your knees as much as you need to, to help ease you into the movement. Don’t rush, take your time!
Tight hips don’t lie and the bridge pose helps runners build strength in an area that gets put under a lot of stress and strain during a run. It’s not just the hips that benefit as this pose targets the chest, neck, spine and hamstrings. It also has a calming effect on the brain and central nervous system. If you find yourself needing to adapt this pose to make it easier, keep your hips a little lower and use a block or towel where needed.
The Hero pose is another great one that has numerous benefits. As with the bridge pose above, it’s effective for increasing flexibility in the hips and it can also be used to strengthen the lower back and stretch the quads. Don’t worry at all if you finding sitting in this pose a bit too uncomfortable, it can be adapted by placing a yoga block (or whatever you have to hand) below the hips. This provides a great bit of support and ensures you’re not at risk of injuring yourself.