Five Reasons to Add Yoga to Your Run Schedule
1. Stretch We all know we should. Sometimes we even do a couple of hamstring stretches when we get back from a run. But the majority of the time we rush off to do something else – hit the shower so we can get to work on time; grab coffee with our run buddies; or the all-important re-fueling. What your body really needs is an hour or more of bending, stretching and lengthening. It’s not just your hamstrings that need some love, and yoga will allow you to stretch everything – tight IT bands, tense shoulders, psoas muscles you didn’t even know you had. Trust us – your body will thank you for it. 2. But It’s Not All About Stretching Yoga is not all about stretching, and you don’t have to be super flexible. Yoga can be a work out and it will make you sweat. A few minutes flowing through Warrior poses (think long lunges, held for longer than you think you can) should get your heart rate up if that’s your thing. Or try a class in a heated room (make sure you take a towel). You’re not just stretching – you’re building strength on your mat. From your core right through your limbs. Which is great for getting your legs to carry you further and faster on your runs. 3. Cortisol, a.k.a. the stress hormone The body releases cortisol in response to various kinds of stress, including running. Even the improvements in physical fitness that we get through running are a form of stress response. Cortisol’s effects on the body are beneficial except when we are subjected to too much stress, which can come from running as well as everything else we have going on in our lives. A recent study took several groups of people with high levels of stress and found that more patients in the yoga groups had a drop in cortisol levels as compared to drug-only group. In the yoga-only group, the cortisol drop correlated with an antidepressant effect. So get on your mat and feel the stress melt away. 4. The Yoga High You know that high you get after a run? Yoga’s got one of those as well. There is something about the combination of the focus on your breath, the movement, the meditation and the spiritual side of yoga that equals a tingling sense of inner peace. Try a class before work and it’ll put you in an amazingly, clear-headed state for the rest of the day. Or head along to a class after work to completely mellow you out for the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had. 5. In It For The Long Run The yoga high doesn’t just wear off either. That blissful feeling will start to permeate through the rest of your life. This is the thing that keeps yogis coming back and gets those athletes addicted. Convinced? Come along to one of Sarah’s classes at Yoga Academy, or sign-up for a beginners course to learn the ins-and-outs, in a safe environment, to help take your running (and life) to that next level.