The Amazing Connection between Yoga and Running

yoga and running

Over 64 million people went running or jogging in the United States in 2016. Running is one of the top sports activity in the world.

However, if you’re a runner and you suffer knee or leg pain, you know how inconvenient these issues can be. What if there was a way to reduce running injuries and improve your overall strength and muscle tone?

Yoga is the answer.

Did you know about the amazing connection between yoga and running?

In fact, we think runners should practice yoga for a multitude of reasons. Want to learn more? Read on to find out more!

Relieve Running Pain

A staggering 90 percent of runners miss out on training every year because of injuries. If left unaddressed, these problems can get worse and keep you in bed for months.

The most common injuries that cause pain in runners include:

  • Runner’s knee
  • Shin splints
  • Stress fractures

Training for a triathlon? These common running ailments make it difficult or impossible to complete a run.

Fortunately, yoga can help relieve pain and discomfort while improving your range of motion.

In a study, 42 participants who had carpal tunnel had to either wear a wrist splint or do yoga for a duration of eight weeks. After those eight weeks, yoga proved to be more effective at reducing wrist pain and improving wrist strength.

Restore Alignment and Fix Muscle Imbalances

After a run, do you ever feel like you have knots in your neck and shoulder area?

Running puts stress on your muscles and joints. In the long run, it may cause misalignment issues in areas like your neck and shoulders.

You can do yoga for neck pain and shoulder tension. This centuries-old practice can help reduce muscle pain and restore alignment.

Increase Muscle Strength

Contrary to popular belief, yoga isn’t just about deep breathing and meditation. Over time, it may help improve muscle tone and overall strength.

In a study, 79 individuals did sun salutations six days a week for six months. When the study ended, they had greater upper body strength and endurance. On top of that, they got slimmer.

Runners put a lot of weight and tension on their legs. This results in strong quads, glutes, and calves, but the rest of your body might not be as strong.

Yoga, on the other hand, is a full body workout. In the long run, it can help you become a better runner by improving your overall muscle strength and tone.

Relax Your Mind and Improve Your Running Experience

Do you find yourself distracted while on a run?

Through yoga, you can quiet your mind, relieve stress, and learn to focus on your run.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Do you feel stressed out the night before a triathlon? You stay awake thinking about how the big event will go. You worry about suffering from an injury, or about not being fast enough.

Yoga can help reduce stress and lift your mood.

Cortisol is a stress hormone produced in your body. Yoga has been shown to lower cortisol levels and improve the body’s ability to handle stress.

This practice can also help with anxiety. One study had 34 women with anxiety disorder do yoga twice a week for a period of two months. Results showed that these women had decreased feelings of anxiety.

Yoga can even help you sleep better at night.

In a study, 69 elderly individuals were split into three groups. The first group practiced yoga, the second took an herbal preparation, and the third was the control group.

The group that did yoga had less trouble falling asleep, slept for longer periods, and had better overall sleep quality than the two other groups.

Be in the Moment of the Run

Runners are always on the go.

You’re trying to run faster and harder. You want to finish that extra mile or beat your best time. It’s a competitive sport.

What if you can mentally take a step back and actually enjoy your run? What if you can learn to focus on your run? Yoga can help you focus better.

When you’re holding a yoga pose such as the Warrior II or the Plank, you have to engage all of your muscles, keep your balance, and focus on deep breathing all at the same time. You’re completely in the moment. A distracted mind can make you lose your balance.

Likewise, you can maintain that focus while running.

An overhead plane or nearby traffic noises won’t distract you. By learning to engage your mind, you can improve your running performance.

Some people may run just to win, but many like to do it because they love the feeling that it gives them. With yoga, you can forget about your worries and enjoy your training session.

Improve Your Breathing

Yoga emphasizes breathing. In fact, rhythmic breathing and other techniques can help improve your overall health and wellness.

How you breathe while running matters too.

When you’re running, think about how your foot hits the floor. The force is equal to up to three times your body weight.

If the same foot hits the ground every time you exhale, you’re putting repeated stress on one side of your body. This can make that side of your body weaker and more susceptible to injury.

Rhythmic breathing can help you control your breathing so that you exhale evenly on both sides. This can make it so that both sides of your body absorb the shock of running.

By learning to focus your breathing, you can reduce your chances of injury and have a more efficient run.

The Benefits of Practicing Both Yoga and Running

Yoga and running can go hand in hand. These two forms of exercise complement each other.

While you get a great cardio workout with running, yoga can help promote self-healing and increase your overall strength. It can also be a great, relaxing workout on the days when you need a break from running.

Want to learn more about the benefits of yoga? Ready to start training for your next triathlon? Contact us to get started!