Do you run? I do. I love to hit the pavement. When I do, there’s no need for headphones or earbuds to listen to music. I prefer to hear the sounds of nature, and enjoy the sights along the way: whether it be budding bushes, gardens in bloom, or fall coloured trees. It’s also a great opportunity to focus on my breath, to be in the present moment. I guess I’d call my running time, a meditation.
Fitness experts tell us that cross training is the best way to stay fit. You should do cross-training that compliments your main sport or activity. For runners, this could be swimming, cycling, yoga, or walking to help build endurance. Running is a unilateral movement, so it’s important to incorporate unilateral exercises, such as lunges—and we find lots of lunges in yoga—into strength training workouts. Runners can also tend to be weak laterally, so it’s important to do workouts that strengthen your hips and glutes—yoga again! Engaging in cross-training will help you avoid injuries.
I have found running and yoga to be great complimentary exercise activities. Yoga aids in developing muscular strength, flexibility, and balance, which can reduce the risk of injury, when you run. Yoga also helps you improve your mental focus and breathing efficiency for running. The strength and flexibility you develop through yoga in your core, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors, can help you run more efficiently and stay injury-free.
After a run, it’s important to stretch, and I can think of no better way to cool down and get your stretches than by striking several yoga poses! Think Reclined Pigeon for the glutes, Standing Lateral Stretch, for the side body, Low Lunge and ½ Split for the psoas and hamstrings, and a Rag Doll just to completely release.
Running is a wonderful compliment for yoga practitioners. It boosts cardiovascular fitness. Doing a power yoga or vinyasa flow class helps to maintain that fitness in between runs, or when it’s too cold out to run!
For me yoga and running go hand in hand. What’s your complimentary fitness option(s)?