Tuesday, April 27, 2010

DISCOVER Yoga for Runners: How Can Yoga Help?

As most casual and competitive runners will attest, a daily run can help boost energy, strengthen the heart, lower blood pressure, and build bone mass. But running can also be both physically and mentally demanding. Yoga provides the perfect balance to offset the stress on muscles and renew the body and mind.

Today, more than ever, runners are turning to yoga to help:

Prevent Injuries. As a weight-bearing activity, running can place a great deal of stress on muscles and joints. Many injuries are the end result of either overuse or imbalance. But regular yoga practice can counter these imbalances and provide symmetry and alignment, potentially relieving many back, neck, and joint problems.

Increase Strength and Flexibility. In spite of regular pre- and post-run stretching, few runners are very flexible. Yoga poses, particularly those supported by the right yoga props, can lengthen the muscles, improve flexibility, and expand range of motion.

Recover Faster. Yoga not only helps to focus and calm the mind, certain poses can help increase the movement of oxygen through the body and prevent the buildup of scar tissue.

Enhance Breathing and Capacity. By conditioning runners to take slower and deeper breaths, yoga can positively impact lung function, relax the entire body, and increase the flow of oxygen-rich blood to muscles.

Especially for competitive runners, yoga is a natural way to balance the mental and physical demands and take performance to an entirely new level.