The Benefits of Yoga for Runners

by Jim Richardson | Last Updated: April 28, 2020

Running is great for maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle, but one unfortunate side-effect is that it’s notoriously hard on the body. Injuries are often a fact of life if you’re a keen runner, but you may have been ignoring a great method of staying fit, flexible and in great health – yoga.

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

Here are some of the ways yoga and running go hand in hand, and a few of the best poses to try out for success on the road or the track.

Why runners should do yoga

Hardcore runners might be skeptical, but there is actually a lot of crossover between the two disciplines. Yoga has a host of benefits on the body – here are just a few of the main ones:

Flexibility – running results in tired, stiff muscles, so it makes sense that stretching them out could help your performance and your health. 

Mobility/Injury prevention – yoga also improves your range of motion in the joints and helps muscles work together for better form and stronger running. 

Breathing – yoga requires slow, deep breathing that can actually help improve lung capacity. Naturally, this will help with endurance and overall performance while running. 

Balance/Core Stability – maintaining those poses is tough on your core, which will help with stabilizing your torso and minimizing wasted energy. 

Best Poses

So now you know some of the potential benefits of yoga for runners, what are the best yoga poses to try out? Here are some of the most effective (you might want to check out some diagrams to help you):

Downward-Facing Dog – this stretches the calves and hamstrings while helping to lengthen the spine. 

Upward-Facing Dog – this pose, on the other hand, helps open up the front of your body (chest and shoulders) which can help you take deeper breaths. 

Reclined Pyramid Pose – this effectively opens up your hamstrings and calves, while being kind on your back. 

Don’t Be Shy

You might be hesitant to get started, but yoga for runners is one of the most effective ways of staying strong, fit, and injury-free. There are classes for people of all ages and abilities, so don’t worry if you’ve never tried it before. After you’ve seen just how effective yoga can be at preventing injury and improving performance, you’ll soon wonder how you did without it.

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