Pilates for Runners – 4 Reasons to Include Pilates Exercises in Your Training
If you’re not familiar with Pilates, you definitely should be. In fact, Pilates exercises can improve your running performance in a number of ways. Many experts encourage runners to invest in cross-training activities for a number of reasons. By including Pilates as part of your weekly routine, you’ll soon reap the benefits Pilates offers. All it takes is finding a good instructor and familiarizing yourself with the specific exercises.
Pilates exercises represent a series of low-impact, full-body workouts that nicely complement running. George Pilates designed Pilates exercises to promote flexibility and help tissues heal. By combining aspects of yoga, dance, and calisthenics, he created a number of specific techniques. When performed routinely, Pilates will not only improve your overall health but make you a better runner as well. Therefore, it’s important to appreciate the benefits of Pilates and how it can enhance your overall running performance.
1. Pilates Exercises Improves Flexibility
As you might have guessed, some of the benefits of Pilates include improved flexibility. Pilates builds upon yoga techniques to enhance mobility while reducing tension in muscles and tendons. It also improves joint movement and range of motion. Especially for endurance runners, these are constant concerns that are often associated with discomfort. With Pilates, however, flexibility will improve, which will translate into quicker recovery and speed.
2. Pilates Exercises Builds Strength and Endurance
Many Pilates exercises routinely strive to improve muscular strength. As a whole-body workout, Pilates can strengthen core muscles as well as your legs, back, neck and arms. And unlike heavy lifting in the gym, these exercises are more natural and use the body’s weight and gravity alone instead of weights. With the added strength you gain from a regular Pilates practice, you will be less likely to fatigue on your longer runs.
3. Pilates Exercises Enhances Balance and Posture
Many runners struggle with poor posture and an improper stride. Likewise, good balance can also improve your running stride’s efficiency and speed. With this in mind, one of the benefits of Pilates is enhanced balance and posture. Proper alignment of your spine and other joints naturally reduce the amount of energy you need to run. This will serve to make you faster and less fatigued during your longer runs.
4. Pilates Exercises Prevents Injuries
One of the most important benefits of Pilates is its approach to tissue healing. The Pilates method focuses on relieving tight, tense tissues while also improving tissue oxygenation. As a result, injury is less likely to occur, and when injured, tissues heal faster and more completely. Also, in many cases, Pilates exercises offer a great activity to perform while injured. If you can’t run, Pilates may be able to help you maintain your level of fitness even while you’re not able to keep running. This is another reason why Pilates is a great cross-training regimen.
How to Get Started with Pilates
In Pilates, there are a series of typical exercises that are used. Likewise, Pilates includes two main types, mat and reformer Pilates. Mat Pilates instructs you to perform Pilates exercises on a mat, while reformer Pilates uses a more complicated-looking device. The terms and equipment used can thus seem a bit intimidating for a beginner. But it shouldn’t be. All it takes is a local Pilates instructor, a Pilates mat, and yoga attire, and you’ll be ready to go! Pilates is something anyone can perform. And as a runner, the benefits of Pilates should convince you this is something you should try.