“The strength and flexibility you develop on the mat—namely in the core, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors—can help you run more efficiently and stay injury-free” Adam St. Pierre, a coach, biomechanist, and exercise physiologist for the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine told Runner’s World.
Plus, you don't need to aim for a crazy level of flexibility (in fact, some of the world's fastest runners tend to be less flexible than their competitors), but gently stretching after a run with the following yoga poses—recommended by Sydney Benner, a BeFit Trainer, dancer, yogi, runner, hiker and founder of BennerFit.com—can help to relieve and prevent muscle tightness, as well as improve your joint range of motion.
“Let’s imagine you just finished your run,” Benner said. “You probably want to celebrate by collapsing on the couch right? The fact is, if you want to get off of the couch without that creaking feeling you’d be wise to spend just 10 minutes doing these 10 yoga poses first. You won’t regret it.”
“This wonderful pose is my personal favorite,” Benner said. “Planting your palms in front of your shoulders while gently pressing your heals down into your mat, you’ll want to gently lift your hips up toward the sky. This is a wonderful stretch for the spine and hamstrings.”
“From a plank position gently lower your elbows alongside the body,” Benner explained. “Inhale as you straighten your arms and arch upward continuing to keep your arms and legs straight while pressing the tops of your feet into your mat. Lift that heart of yours open and enjoy as you stretch your abs and spine.”
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