Why is Pilates important to Runners?

Pilates exercises strengthen the diaphragm, stretch tight muscles, and improve posture—all of which help you run longer with less effort.

Development Of A Strong Core And Postural Awareness Reduce Injuries
Pilates exercise is a good conditioning and cross-training program for runners especially marathon runners.  As running exerts great stress on the lower back and lower joints, any imbalance in the muscular usage of the legs and hips can cause pain and injury to a runner. Pilates is very effective at developing the stabilization muscles around the pelvis and strengthening the core. Pilates also emphasizes the awareness of good posture so that your upper body is more upright, leading to a better alignment and less chance of injury while running.

Flexibility Gives You Bigger & More Powerful Strides
Pilates improves flexibility and range of motion without compromising strength as you are strengthening and stretching your muscles simultaneously.  Especially if you run on uneven ground or trails, a strong and flexible core will protect your back and absorb shock impact that comes with every step. It is important to balance your body and train muscles that may be neglected when you do your runs.

Pilates Helps Runners Breathe Deeper To Sustain Longer Runs
Is there a perfect way for runners to breathe when they run? Some runners take deep breathes for the majority of their run and switch to high-chest breathing when they sprint. There are many ways to breathe for different outcomes and Pilates can help you to develop stronger breathing muscles. Pilates which involves deep diaphragmatic breathing pre-activates the transverse abdominals, pelvic floor and diaphragm. It creates an even and sustained breath and this can prevent you from getting side cramps when running; as it is like a deep massage for the diaphragm and other breathing muscles. It also heightens your concentration and allows better mental focus.

Pilates Reduces Running Injuries And Is An Excellent Knee Rehabilitation Program
Knee joint, being the largest and most complicated joint in the body, is always subjected to a heavy workload during all the sports activities, especially running. Pilates is the most important way to keep away from knee injuries as it strengthens the hip adductors and quadriceps which keeps the knee and hip joints more stable. Pilates works well as a part of knee rehabilitation as it helps to restore the joint function and correct the joints movement patterns by emphasizing body awareness.
In short, Pilates enhances the biomechanics of the runner, build strength, increase flexibility and reduces the risk for common injuries associated with running. Doing Pilates two to three times a week would be the best for runners. Integrates Pilates into your current running program right now to further enhance your running performance!

Pilates Exercises

Integrating running, weight lifting exercises with core strengthening exercises such as Pilates exercises is useful to even out the muscles imbalances and strengthen your knee joint and ankle joint. Note that it is important that you carry out Pilates exercises under guidance of qualified instructor.
 
Pilates Exercises such as SingLe Leg Stretch is useful in stretching your hip flexors (which are generally tight for marathon runners) and promoting proper tracking of patella (knee cap), working the intrinsic muscles around your knee joint to prevent runner knees. In addition, mobilizing your legs in a flexion position also work out your abs and back muscles.


STARTING POSITION
 
Supine with upper body flexed off mat. Imprinted position. Legs tabletop. Hands resting against outside of legs, scapulae stabilized.
 

Inhale to prepare
Step 1: Exhale
Extend one leg out on diagonal, moving outside hand to ankle, inside hand to knee of flexed leg

Step 2: Inhale
Begin to switch legs and hands

Step 3: Exhale
Fully extend other leg, changing hands to flexed leg.
Step 4: Inhale
Begin to switch legs.

Complete 8–10 repetitions.
 
Cultivating good posture and incorporating core strengthening exercises such as Pilates exercises will help you to run faster, longer without hurting your body.

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