yoga stretching for runners

Marathoners use yoga stretching for runners to stay limber, avoid injury

Are you running in this year's ING New York City Marathon? Thousands will. Even if you are not a seasoned long-distance runner, making use of yoga's stretching benefits may make it easier to trot, jog, run or sprint without injuring yourself.

Here are three tips dealing with yoga stretching for runners of all experience levels.

1. Do your feet hurt when you go for a jog or take a morning walk? It's a common problem. A Huffington Post article by Dr. Neal Blitz emphasized that cramping and tendon injuries are some of the most common foot injuries you can get while running. A world expert on podiatric care – he is the Chief of Foot Surgery at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital in New York – Blitz recommended working on the foot's strength and flexibility. Fortunately, a number of yoga exercises specifically address the foot. Try techniques that gradually stretch and soothe the toes, arch and Achilles tendon.

2. Be sure to stretch! The Yoga Journal emphasized that most runners experience aches and pains because their muscles slowly tighten over time. Not only might this lead to sprains and strains, but it can also throw off a runner's balance. The news source said noted that runners don't just use their legs to run upright – the arms, shoulders and core muscles come into play, too. Therefore, stretching all the major muscle groups is a must. What better way to do so than with a little yoga?

3. Focus on your breathing. You may be one of the strongest and most flexible people you know, but if you don't have the lungs for it, you'll never be able to succeed in running. Yoga's deep breathing techniques and diaphragm exercises can improve your lung capacity. Likewise, taking some time for mindful breathing can lead to lower anxiety and fewer toxins in the lungs.

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