Running, when done is moderation, is hugely beneficial to one’s health. It promotes burning of calories from fats and helps one achieve a healthy cardiovascular system.
Although it seems that only the legs are involved, running is an exercise that engages the entire body. It’s one of the simplest, yet the most efficient exercises.
Studies also point out to running as one of the best ways to deal with depression and to boost mental clarity and the sense of well-being. Perhaps, these factors are among the reasons why many are considering running as part of a healthy lifestyle.
IS RUNNING ALWAYS THAT GOOD?
However beneficial it is to our health, everything done in excess is harmful—even running.
Running puts a great amount of stress in the legs. When done in moderation, some of the force placed on the legs are absorbed by the muscles.
When done in excess, however, the muscles begin to lose efficiency in absorbing some of the force and sustains microtears in the . The bones in the legs also sustain microfractures. Over time, the damage increases.
Thus it is crucial to space out running schedule and perform post running stretching to aid in recovery. Running involves extreme and prolonged muscle contraction that shortens leg muscles. This makes it difficult to flush wastes from the muscles.
Stretching relaxes the muscles and returns them to their original state. This also allows blood to flow freely in and out of the muscles thus flushing out toxins more effectively. One of the best ways is to perform yoga specifically for recovery.
Yoga involves extreme muscle stretching methods that are both recuperative and relaxing at the same time.
Here are some of the most effective yoga recovery poses that you can perform after running:
This pose of perfect for relieving your . In addition, it helps stretch out the knees, ankles, feet, thighs and hips. Running puts a tremendous amount of stress on the feet. This pose helps relieve the pain in the feet after running.
Virasana translates to hero pose. It’s ideal to start with this pose as this significantly relieves tiredness.
- Start by kneeling on the floor. You can use a folded blanket between your thighs and calves. Be sure to position your thighs perpendicular to the floor. Then, touch your inner knees together. Afterward, slide your feet apart. The distance between your feet must be slightly greater than the width of your hips. Do this while the top of your feet lies flat on the floor. Gradually angle your big toes towards each other then allow the top of each of your foot to press evenly on the floor.
- As you lean your torso slowly forward, draw in air and exhale slowly as well. Push your knees together toward the heels and then sit down on your feet.
- Stay in this position for 30-60 seconds. Over time, you can increase your duration up to five minutes.
This workout helps loosen the hip flexors and the quads. The name of this workout translates to Frog Posture as the position that you’ll assume is reminiscent of that of a frog.
To successfully do it, you must do the Virasana pose first. It’s also helpful if you’ve been doing Virasana for a time now because this pose extends what you can do with the latter.
- Lie down on your front.
- Using your forearms for support, slowly lift your upper torso and head. As you do this, inhale slowly, as well.
- Slowly bend the right knee and move your heel closer to your right hip. As you do this, exhale slowly.
- Clasp the inside of your foot with your right hand. You can use the left forearm for support.
- Do the same thing with the left leg.
- Keep your chest lifted while squaring your shoulders and making sure that they are directed downward and away from your ears.
- For a video demonstration, you can check this link for the .
Thread The Needle
Since running engages the entire body, it also stresses out the upper body. This pose will help you to release upper body tension caused by prolonged running. It also helps unwind the back muscles and to relieve the stress in the spine.
- Start with a tabletop position involving your hands and knees.
- Ensure that shoulders are over the wrists and the hips are over the knees.
- Lift your right arm towards the sky. This will open your chest. To support this, inhale slowly.
- Face to the left and draw your right arm under you. Your right arm must point to the left. With this position, you are resting on the posterior side of your right shoulder. Your head must be rested on the floor.
- You can either leave your left hand as is or you can stretch it out to the sky opening your chest. While doing this, be sure to inhale.
- Do this with the other side.
You’ll find that this hamstring stretch is a useful pose after running. For this pose, you’ll need a Yoga strap. If you don’t have one, you can use either a towel or a spare shirt.
- Start by lying on your back.
- Bring your right knee closer toward your chest. Be sure that your left foot remains flat on the floor.
- Loop your right instep in your Yoga strap, shirt or towel.
- Extend your right leg toward the sky. Pull the strap for support. If you’re able to do it, you can reach your left foot forward while pressing on your toe heels.
- Draw the strap, towel or shirt towards your body. As you do this, breathe in slowly.
- While keeping your hips level, move your right leg toward the right side.
- Return to the center and do the same thing to the left leg.
This pose opens up tight hips and glutes. This is a good way to end the poses with this one after running.
- Start by assuming the downward facing dog pose.
- Reach your right food high while keeping your arms straight and your left foot flat on the floor.
- Gradually take your right foot behind your left wrist.
- Afterward, step your left foot right behind the right food. This way, your legs are somewhat in an “x” position. If it’s causing strain in your hamstring, you can bend your knees a bit.
- Be sure to draw in breath halfway through the process.
- Slowly step your left foot back and allow your right knee to fall to the side. Drop your left knee while your fingertips assume support. Press to the left toes and push the knee back a bit more. Do this as far back as you can.
- Do this with the other leg.
Although running is essential for health, doing it regularly or for an extended period can harm the muscles, bones, ligaments and in the activity. This worsens with age as the parts involved in running sustains wear and tear.
Doing Yoga poses is highly critical in addressing this problem. Not only does it relieves the tension and the stress in the legs, but it also helps in keeping them in great shape.
Emily Carter is an American competitive athlete who is always trying to push herself to the limit. She is also the founder of GoAheadRunner, where her associates blog contain articles to provide everything a runner needs, whether you are a seasoned pro or an absolute beginner.
As a certified holistic life coach, Emily also has 3 years’ experience as a power running instructor and holds a degree in sport science. She loves bringing what she knows and learns to the community and hopes to help everyone to the road to happiness.