Your entire body feels the impact of your legs pounding the pavement, trails, track, or treadmill day after day. It’s a lot for your body to handle–making burnout and running injuries common. However, post-run yoga can help immensely!
Infusing stretching and cross-training activities into your schedule is a great way to shake things up and prevent injuries. For example, spending 10 to 15 minutes practicing some post-run yoga exercises as a part of your cool down is a simple way to stay limber, soothe your muscles, and stay healthy.
You may have heard that yoga for runners is an excellent activity for runners–but you don’t quite know where to start.
Before we get into the yoga stretches, let’s talk about why doing post-run yoga is a fantastic idea in the first place. After you run, your muscles are already warm and pliable, so you’ll be more flexible and your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back won’t tighten up nearly as much once you’ve cooled off.
Furthermore, tight, tense muscles don’t have as good of blood flow, so post-run yoga helps your muscles gain access to blood and oxygen. This also helps your muscles recover and stay healthy for your next run!
Read on to learn four yoga for athletes moves that you can start incorporating into your running routine today.
This yoga pose is also called the “Anjaneyāsana.” Fortunately, the exercise is easier to perform than it is to pronounce–plus it’s great for opening up your hip flexors, chest, and stretching your spine.
Don’t worry, we aren’t suggesting you have to be flexible enough to do the splits for this post run yoga move! This move stretches your hamstrings and calves–and is known as the “Ardha Hanumanasana”.
Tip: If you want an extra stretch, trying flexing the foot in front upwards.
Ever wake up to a charlie horse in your foot after an intense training run? This post-run yoga move can help prevent them! Here’s how:
Tip: If you can’t comfortably sit all the way back on your heels, don’t worry–it will come with time. You can set your hands in front of you to support a bit of your body weight.
If you deal with tight hips, this stretch is for you–it’s one of my favorites. It’s great for opening your hips up after a hill workout, too!
Tip: You can do this exercise in a chair. Cross one ankle over the opposite thigh and lean forward until you feel a satisfying stretch in your outer hip.
If you’ve ever been to a full-on yoga class, you’ll notice many classes end with conscious deep breathing, similar to meditation. It’s not a vigorous stretch, but it definitely boosts your energy after a tough run and helps you relax.
As a bonus, a Northwestern University study found that conscious deep breathing can positively affect the parts of your brain responsible for fear and memory. Awesome!
Wrap up your yoga practice by laying in the “savasana” or relaxation pose. Inhale for six seconds and exhale for six seconds. If six seconds feels too cumbersome, start with three or four and build your way up. Keep breathing like this for at least three minutes–more if you have time!
Tip: If you have trouble falling asleep at night, this is also a great way to calm your mind and promote a restful night of sleep. Namaste!
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