Friday, December 18, 2009
Yoga is good Pre or Post Run
I received two running magazines today, Women's Health Magazine and Women's Running, both had articles on the benefits of yoga for runners. Yoga seems to be in the health and fitness spotlight these days. A very "now" thing to do. I see it popping up everywhere in articles, blogs and television as something that benefits athletes from running to cycling to organized sports. So in case you didn't know, yoga helps increase flexibilty and strength which can help you perform better in other activities or help prevent injuries.
When I started training with Team in Training for my first marathon there was lots of discussion and warning about injuries, mostly with the IT band. They suggested some basic stretches to do to help prevent some of the most common injuries but what I found most helpful was practicing yoga. I had been practicing yoga for about 3 years before I decided to train for a marathon and I think that really helped me prevent injuries.
Also, during my training I practiced yoga as often as I could and could really feel where running had tightened my muscles or pushed something out of alignment. Sometimes after a long run I could barely walk my knees hurt so bad. It wasn't actually my knees it was more my inner thigh muscles tightened up so much they were pulling my knee ligaments. And after a long run have you ever tried to squat down and keep your knees properly aligned? You can't do it! It is because your muscles tighten up so much your body get's out of alignment.
So what is the solution? Well, according to Women's Health Magazine and Women's Running Magazine, yoga!
Here are some yoga poses I like to do after I run or go on a long bike ride:
Fixed Firm Pose (Supta-Vajrasana): Helps lengthen the rectus femoris, tibialis anterior and gluteus maximus...amoung other things. What does that mean? It lengthens the inner thigh muscles, easing the pain you feel when you run.
Wind Removing Pose (Pavanamuktasana): Wind Removing Pose is great for compressing the hip joint and then allowing fresh blood to rush back through the hip area.
Eagle Pose (Garurasana): Eagle Pose is also good for the hips. It helps gluteus maximus, adductor magnus (inner thigh muscle), and helps stabilze the hips.
Sitting Down Pose (Upavesasana): Sitting down pose is also so great for during or after running. You basically squat down, oepn your legs a bit and sit back on your heels. If you do it correctly you can really feel it in the inner thighs and calves. I like to ease from side to side, leaning into one side, then the other for a deeper stretch.
Try some of these poses after your next run or ride and let me know what you think!