Runners experience all sorts of pains from their knees, ankles, feet, hamstrings and back. This isn’t surprising since the average runner’s foot will hit the ground approximately 1,000 times during a one mile run. If you are an avid runner, this can mean striking each foot against the ground thousands of times per week. It’s no wonder runner’s experience all kinds of issues with this type of stress put on the joints, muscles and cartilages every week. Even though your legs are going through this kind of stress every week, it is actually your running form that causes the most damage to your body. This is where yoga comes in.
Yoga and running seem like a strange pairing at first. Most runners I know hate stretching and would rather be out doing something than doing downward dog in a stuffy classroom. However, including running and yoga in your regular workout regiment can lead to increased cardio, stamina, flexibility and strength.
Most runners I know suffer from injuries from time to time; some more than others. Chronic pain is very common among this group and gets worse without being treated. Most bodies cannot endure the constant pounding and imbalances that are occurring when muscles become tight and shortened. This is why it is so important to take the time to stretch, loosen and elongate your muscles to restore them to their nature positions.
When muscles are over-worked doing the same repetitive motion over and over again, they become tight and brittle. They also end up working out the same muscles and over time they become very strong, but your other muscles become weak. The stronger ones try compensate for the weaker ones and your body becomes imbalanced and exceedingly tight. When your body is imbalanced and tight it can cause all sorts of issues. In running, every single stride causes your strong muscles to work harder to compensate for the weaker ones. You can imagine what this might do over a long period of time.
This is where yoga comes in. When doing yoga, you are more focused on your body’s movements, position and balance rather than on outcomes. This means that you will end up working different muscle groups than you would by just running. You will also see an increase in your range of motion and flexibility. Becoming more flexible and strong in other key areas of your body, you will find that it will offset the one-dimensional workouts you were getting in the past. Yoga will help you listen to your body and you will be able to better respond to and understand imbalances in it. This will also greatly reduce your chance of injury when doing other more repetitive sports.