5 Best Yoga Poses for Runners

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Although running and yoga may seem like activities that are on opposite ends of the spectrum, they really are complementary activities that work together beautifully. Running is an excellent way to exercise your whole body aerobically at a high level of intensity. The main benefit of running includes gaining muscular strength, better cardiovascular health, and losing weight. It can also be quite meditative.

However, running can be stressful on muscles, joints, and ligaments. It’s estimated that after every mile, your feet will hit the ground around 1,000 times. This means if you run about 20 miles every week, each foot will hit the ground approximately 20,000 times.

This repetitive impact may affect your hips and legs, which can lead to stiffness and sometimes even pain. For you to get rid of these stressful effects of running, practicing yoga before and after you run will help you to stay flexible, limber, and less prone to injury.

Additionally, if you are looking for a way to not get tired when running, these five yoga poses will definitely help and improve your running.

1. Butterfly

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This yoga pose helps in adding flexibility to your groin and hips by opening up your inner thighs. Lean forward a little and the activity also aids in stretching the back. Here’s how to do it:

  • Sit tall on a mat and make sure that the soles of your feet are together, from here interlace your fingers and keep them on your toes when still sitting tall.
  • Next, turn your shoulders back and try to look at a point past the end of your nose tip.
  • Lean forward until you can feel the stretch.
  • While breathing in, imagine that your head is moving towards the wall in front of you and then breathe out, allowing your body to sink close to the floor.
  • For the best results, ensure you hold this position for about thirty seconds.

2. Thread the Needle

picture3If you need a yoga move to stretch the outside of your hips and the inner thighs, then this is it. Do the following:

  • Lie flat on your back on a mat and bring your knee towards your chest at a ninety-degree angle.
  • Position your right ankle on your left thigh and then interlock your fingers while keeping them at the back of your thighs.
  • Try to pull your left thigh towards your chest and hold in this position for about thirty seconds.
  • Allow yourself to relax when you feel the tension building and repeat the pose on the other side.

3. Bridge

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This move will help in opening your shoulders and front of the body as well as strengthen the core. It’s a great activity to counteract the effects of running since the longer we run, the more we tend to hunch forward. Follow these steps:

  • Lie on your back and place your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
  • Lift your hips up towards the ceiling while engaging the core.
  • Clasp your hands together underneath your pelvis and roll the shoulders blades towards each other.

4. Seated Spinal Twist

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This pose not only helps to loosen the spine but also ease stiff shoulders and neck after a long run. Here’s what to do:

  • Cross one leg over the other while keeping your knees pointed to the ceiling with the sole of your feet on the ground.
  • Try to reach your opposite hand across your body while pushing it against the outside of the thigh and downwards to your knee to make the twist deep.

 5. Low Lunge

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  • From standing pose lunge the right leg forward until the back left knee touches the ground.
  • Raise the arms above the head and hold for 30 seconds.

These five poses are an excellent way to end any running session. They work the front and back of the legs, strengthen the core, and open the hips. Do them regularly and you should stay a happy and healthy runner.

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picture7Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Emily Carter, founder of GoAheadRunner, where she and her team blog about everything a runner needs, whether you are a seasoned pro or an absolute beginner. The blog provides information on training, running gear, supplements and much more. Follow Emily on Twitter.

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