Yoga for Runners
One of the best things about running is that it can be a lifelong practice. At races across the Capital Region, you'll easily see older role models crushing their higher age brackets. Lacing up your sneakers and hitting the road or trail is one of the best things you can do for your heart, lungs, brain, and longevity. Adding a splash of yoga to a regular running routine will help minimize injuries, build strength and flexibility, improve your balance, and make it even more likely that you will be queuing up in the Freihofer's or Boilermaker starting lines in your 80s, 90s, or even as a centenarian.
Running is one of the most accessible ways to improve your lung capacity, decrease blood pressure and increase serotonin production, among many other health benefits. However, while running does a phenomenal job of building your quadricep and hamstring muscles, it does a less great job of promoting hip mobility and core strength.
Yoga, however, provides an almost perfect counterbalance to running. By incorporating movements that strengthen our abdominals & back muscles, runners can create more efficient running forms. Poses that target stretching in our calves, hamstrings, and hip flexors increase a runner's range of motion and prevent or reduce lower back pain. Balance poses develop strength in the tiny muscles of our feet, ankles, and knees, helping us build stability that prevents falls and ankle sprains.
One of the most significant impacts of a runner's yoga practice is the active recovery that yoga provides. Yoga gives minds and bodies time and space to heal from a runner's vigorous workouts. Running and weightlifting inflict trauma on muscle fibers. Muscles grow during the repair process when the muscle fibers re-fuse together during recovery. Yoga is a near-perfect active recovery strategy to support muscle growth by:
Not sure where to get started with incorporating yoga into your weekly routine? YouTube is an excellent source of various yoga routines: Yoga by Adrienne and the Runner's World channel are two of my favorite digital sources of yoga for runners. When searching for in-person yoga training, look for instructors who advertise with an "RYT 200". This indicates they have completed a minimum of 200 hours of yoga teacher training with a program that has been approved by and registered with the Yoga Alliance.
Regardless of whether you're hitting the mat at home or in a class, you can be confident that adding yoga to your weekly schedule will not just keep your mind & body healthy; it will help keep your feet on the road.
Kelly Mateja is a three-time marathoner and 200-hour registered yoga teacher. She studied with the prestigious Yoga Vidya Academy and has practiced yoga in the Capital Region for over 20 years. While she's never won a road race, her Ragnar Relay Team once came in first place for "Most Spirit." Learn more about Kelly at www.kellymatejayoga.com or register today for her Yoga for Runners class at Fleet Feet Albany: (click here to register)
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