8 Reasons Why Pilates Is Great for Runners
Running is an incredible form of cardio exercise, but it can also take a toll on your body. If you are a runner, you understand why strengthening your core and building strength throughout your body can be a smart way to counteract some of the stress that running can cause on your joints and muscles. Pilates may be the missing piece to complement your running regimen. Here are eight reasons that explain how Pilates benefits runners.
Running can exert tremendous force on your hips, knees, and ankles. If you tend to run on uneven surfaces or on hills, this force can affect joint alignment and possibly put you at a greater risk of injury. Pilates focuses on controlled movements executed with precision; in short, alignment is key to performing the moves correctly. You can better understand the importance of your body position when you run thanks to frequent Pilates classes.
A Strong Core
Pilates focuses on core strengthening, which includes your back, hips, shoulders, and neck as well as abs. Increased core strength can translate to better posture and increased efficiency whenever you lace up and head out for a run. It can also help minimize the effects of the force you generate while running and help stabilize your body.
How does that translate to you? Imagine less low back pain during or after a run because you can keep your core tight without even thinking about it.
Another essential component of Pilates is controlled breathing technique. Filling and emptying your lungs while holding in your core is an integral part of Pilates movements and helps you better control your breathing. It can also improve your lung efficiency, which would incredibly valuable for any runner. Time spent doing Pilates can translate into easier runs with better oxygen intake.
Pairing cardiovascular exercise with strength training can help your muscles work smarter, not harder. Your endurance may improve because your entire body is more efficient, which could pay off if you are training for a race or trying to increase your maximum distance. You may also notice you can pick up the pace without too much difficulty because your muscles are stronger than they would be with running alone.
A long, hard run can lead to soreness and tightness in your muscles and joints. Without giving your body a break in between runs, you may impede your own performance or risk injury. With Pilates, you work towards strengthening muscles, increasing flexibility, and improving your breathing. These benefits can help your body heal with less down time, which in turn can get you back out the door for another run. Because your endurance and strength are boosted, your muscles can bounce back faster.
Proper alignment and posture can also improve your balance, which is important as people age. Running is constantly testing your balance, especially if you run off a treadmill; from sidewalk cracks to tree roots to gravel paths, you should aware of the surfaces you use and the potential of falls and injuries. Pilates incorporates postures and movement that rely on your core to keep you balanced better during other activities.
Pilates was and continues to be a beloved strengthening method for ballet dancers because it gives them stronger, leaner muscles and better control over their movement. Flexibility is essential to both dance and Pilates, allowing for deeper movements and postures without injury. As a runner, you can see the advantages of flexibility for anything from sprinting to longer distance running.
The best part of incorporating Pilates into your regular workout routine is that it is tailored to you. You can have individualized attention from a professional Pilates instructor who can assist you in isolated movements and proper form to improve your alignment. You also use your body weight to strengthen your muscles with limited to no weight bearing, giving your joints a break from the beating they take on a run.
Is Pilates good for runners? Absolutely! Contact us to schedule a private or semi-private session to discuss your needs and how to improve your stride and endurance. Working one-on-one can be especially beneficial to identify your strengths and weakness as well as to set your goals.