Running And Pilates Exercises For Runners

By Patricia | August 15, 2010
Running And Pilates

Running and Pilates complement each other. Most runners choose to do Pilates because it helps to build strong muscles, lessens the chance of injury and also improves flexibility. Running is an excellent cardiovascular exercise but it can lead to imbalances in the body. When this happens, the runner gets affected and the imbalances must be corrected in order for the runner to continue. If you do not take proper steps while running, you can injure yourself. Most injuries occur in the lower half of the body: the thighs, the knees, leg, ankle, and the hips. Pilate exercises help to open up the vertebrae in the lower back. This helps to prevent back injuries that result due to the constant impact running involves. A runner should think of incorporating Pilates into his workout or warm up as Pilates helps to strengthen those muscles that are not used in running as well. Runners should be aware that the other muscles should be worked too. It does not matter what kind of runner you are – a marathon runner, short distance or just someone who runs now and then. When you are running, you are using the same muscles to move the body forward. Pilates helps you to maximize your running.

The advantages of Pilates for a runner are as follows:

  • It improves the runner’s overall condition and performance
  • It helps with breath control
  • It reduces the risk of injury
  • It corrects imbalances
  • It stabilizes the pelvis through postural exercises
  • It helps to increase balance in the back and hip muscles
  • It increases the runner’s core strength too.
  • It stretches the hip flexor and hip extensor muscles as well.

Take for example the Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing technique in Pilates. This technique activates the diaphragm, pelvic floor and the transverse abdominus. You have to breathe through the nose and exhale through the mouth, keeping your lips pursed. This kind of breathing prevents you from getting cramps in your side while running. It is also meditative and helps you to focus. Proper breathing also helps you to take in more oxygen and to increase your stamina. Regular Pilate’s session help you to get rid of any tightness in your muscles. Pilates also helps you to improve your posture by aligning the pelvis. You can then run tall and avoid tightness in the lower body and also without hunching Certain Pilate exercises that benefit runners include: Seated Side Twist (with or without the ring), Long Box series, Side Leg Lying series, Leg Circles among others.

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