The 3 Yoga Poses that Runners CAN'T Neglect
By Krista Elliott
Running is great exercise, and it's even better this time of year, when the weather starts to cool down. There's nothing like a sunrise run in the crisp air to get the heart pumping and awaken your sleep-fogged brain.
And there's nothing like a running injury to completely frustrate you. Unfortunately, a lot of runners tend to have strong muscles in some spots, weak muscles in others, and tight muscles .... well, almost everywhere.
Fortunately, there's a great way to stretch, strengthen, and tone your entire body while also helping you relax and focus — perfect for you Type-A runners out there! Yep, I'm talking about yoga. Like running, yoga is great exercise for any age and fitness level. The following yoga poses are excellent for runners, helping you improve your balance and stride while making you less prone to frustrating injuries.
The 3 Best Yoga Poses for Runners
Downward-Facing Dog: If you only do one yoga pose, this is the one to choose. The downward-facing dog is a popular and classic yoga pose for very good reason. Not only does it strengthen your arms and shoulders, but it provides an amazing stretch for your ankles, calves, hamstrings, and glutes. For maximum results, be sure to keep your back straight, while pointing your butt bones straight up and pressing your heels into the ground. If you have a hard time with this pose, resting your hands on yoga blocks or a step is a good modification.
Extended Triangle Pose: Most runners have super-tight hips, and they're a body part that we often forget to stretch. Quick test: Gently press your thumb into the outside of your thigh, right below the crease of your groin. You're probably surprised at how tight and knotted that area is. Fortunately, the extended triangle pose is a great stretch for your outer legs and hips. And it's easily modified: If you can't touch the ground with your low hand, just rest it on your ankle or shin instead.
Tree Pose: When you're running, balance is important. A stumble can lead to injuries that sideline you for weeks or more. The tree pose is excellent at helping to improve your overall balance, while also strengthening your calves and ankles (important when running!) and stretching your inner thighs and groin. You can start off by resting your foot against your inner calf or even your ankle, before eventually graduating to placing your foot against your inner thigh.
There are plenty of great yoga poses that will help stretch and strengthen your entire body, regardless of your age or level of fitness. So mix up your workout and add in some new poses for a stronger, more injury-proof you!
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.