One of the most important things about being a runner is stretching. Avoiding it will only cause you trouble in the long run.
It’s also important to do a cooldown when you’re finished with your workout. You should stretch afterwards to keep your muscles as loose as possible to avoid injury.
Consider using yoga to strengthen your core and to take it easy after a hard workout.
There are many yoga poses to choose from and each has a specific benefit for your body. Here are some poses that you should consider doing to help improve your running ability.
1. Downward Facing Dog
One of the more simple and well-known poses when you’re doing yoga is Downward Facing Dog. You are essentially forming an inverted V with this pose.
Make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart and that your feet are hip-width apart. Avoid putting more body weight on either half of your body; it should be equalized throughout your entire body.
Doing this pose will help provide you with decreased back pain and stronger hands, hamstrings and more. Another benefit includes deeper respiration and decreased anxiety.
Downward Facing Dog can also be modified if you’re having trouble. The modified pose involves the same concept, except you have your elbows on the ground. This pose is also known as the Dolphin pose.
This pose will also help with bone density and increased circulation.
2. Three-Legged Dog
You can take Downward Facing Dog one step further by going to Three-Legged Dog. This involves lifting a leg into the air, which will also test your balance.
When you are going into Three-Legged Dog, straighten your leg in the air slowly and as you are inhaling. If you are looking for a challenge, do the pose one-handed.
You can also bend your leg at the knee while it’s in the air, with the heel of your foot above your head.
This post has similar benefits to Downward Facing Dog, but it also provides you with a great stretching technique that will in turn help strengthen your muscles.
You’ll also find that Three-Legged Dog can help quiet the mind and provide arm strength.
If you deal with carpal tunnel syndrome, are in late-term pregnancy, have an injury or have high blood pressure, it’s recommended that you don’t do this pose.
3. Child’s Pose
When you’re looking for a way to cool down and relax after a run, you can try Child’s Pose. All you need to do is kneel on a mat with your feet touching your butt and lean forward with your head touching the ground and your arms stretched out in front of you.
Child’s Pose can help lessen the amount of tension in your back and shoulders. It’s also a recommended pose if you experience dizziness or fatigue. This pose can help lengthen the spine while also stretching it.
Another great benefit of this pose is that it will bring the circulation in your body back to a normal level. One of the best parts about this pose is that it’s relaxing for your back. It can even help calm your nervous system.
Child’s Pose is a great method of relaxation that will also stretch your body at the same time. Some of the body parts this pose helps with are the hips, thighs and ankles.
While it’s great for your body, pregnant women should avoid this pose.
4. Upward Facing Dog
When you’re a runner, one of the areas that reap the benefits of the workout is your abdomen. Upward Facing Dog is a great pose to stretch out those muscles, especially after a hard workout.
Start by lying down on your stomach. Keeping your arms shoulder-width apart, use them to pull your upper body towards the ceiling. This will put your body in a position similar to that of a snake ready to strike, as seen in the photo below.
This pose is referred to as The Cobra for track-and-field athletes for this very reason.
As a runner, your legs are going to receive the most attention, so poses such as Upward Facing Dog will help you stretch your core and upper arms.
One of the most important benefits Upward Facing Dog has is an increased lung capacity. It will stimulate your abdominal organs, stretch out your chest and help improve posture.
You can also go from Upward Facing Dog to the Bridge pose and strengthen your core even further. Roll onto your back and bend your knees, then lift your hips in the air.
Help Your Body
Yoga has many benefits for your body. If you don’t want to take a class and would rather do the poses on your own, check out these classes to help you learn on your own.