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Is yoga good for runners?

Is yoga good for runners?

Yoga and Running

Yoga comes with many celebrity endorsements. But is yoga alone enough to keep you looking like a film star?

According to a very swift google search, David Beckham, Jessica Biel, Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Timberlake, Kate Hudson and Gisele Bundchen are all at it and we’ve all know that Madonna has been at it for years. It is no wonder that, despite having been around for hundreds of years, practising yoga is still seen as the ‘done thing’.

But is yoga as great as everyone makes out for runners? It certainly has some very real benefits:

  • Yoga increases flexibility and mobility. For those of us walking around with locked up backs and bodies this is a bonus
  • Yoga is accessible. While it benefits your flexibility you don’t need the suppleness of a gymnast or the strength of a raging bull to begin
  • Yoga is a 'whole body exercise'. The emphasis on breathing technique and meditation are good for stress relief and relaxation are great for unwinding after a stressful day at the film studio/office/with the kids
  • Yoga can improve breathing technique. Breathing may seem completely ‘natural’ but improved breathing technique not only helps is stressful moments, it can also benefit those with respiratory problems
  • Yoga can increase your strength – particularly in your trunk which in terms of improving posture and preventing injuries in other activities is good news

All that is great and gives good reason for doing yoga but is it really the key to looking like an on-screen icon? There are reasons why you may need to supplement your yoga:

  • Astanga yoga sees you leaping from pose to pose in a series of fluid movements. But other than this yoga does not provide aerobic exercise to help your heart and lungs
  • Yoga does not burn as many calories if you are looking to lose or control weight
  • Other forms of exercise may allow you to gain more strength in areas you wish to target

In other words yoga is a good form of exercise to incorporate into any fitness regime. But you will probably want it to be a part of a wider regime. Many of the celebrities famed for their yoga also use other forms of exercise, whether at the gym or through going out for runs.

Many famous music stars as well as super-models run as well as using yoga. The reason for this is that running is a great way of burning calories and is also incredibly accessible. You can go out and do it anywhere.

Weight training may conjure up images of shaven headed tattooed men huffing and puffing while ‘pumping iron’ but strength training is a far more holistic way of toning up and burning the calories.

Someone weighing 60kg could expect to burn these calories in one hour:

  • Yoga 135
  • Aerobics 357-425
  • Cycling at 10mph to 12mph 356
  • Running 12min mile/5mph 466
  • Leisurely swim 356
  • Walking at 3mph 204
  • Weight training 178-355

Check out these really informative articles on yoga experts, Yoga Journal