Do you ever stop to ask yourself why you run or why you started in the first place? It can be a difficult question to answer and one that may change over time. However research suggests that the majority of people are initially motivated to dust of those trainers and head out the door for health reasons- whether it be to increase fitness, stay in shape, reduce stress etc etc (the list goes on and on!)
So lets take a quick look at how health can be defined;
‘The state of being free from illness or injury’ Oxford Dictionary
‘A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being’ World Health Organisation
‘A body that is injury- and for must part, pain free’ Christina Felstead (author of Yoga for Runners)
OK, I’m sure you can see where I am going with this one! Sadly for us runners this is not often the case (overuse injuries anyone!). It is very rare to meet a runner who has not sustained an injury at some point, or who has a body free off niggles and pain. Conversely, how many runners do you know that will happily run a half marathon but struggle to bend down and tie their shoe laces or get up of the floor? Come on now, lets be honest…..
There is no doubt that running offers tremendous health benefits and can also bring a lot of joy into our lives, but when we pick up injuries it can often be soul destroying and have a profound negative impact on our well-being. So, what can we do about it? How can we bridge the gap between all the positives that running has to offer without it impending on our day to day lives?
Well luckily for us 1000’s of years ago in Ancient India an amazing system was born know as ‘Yoga’. It is thought that Yoga was designed to help still our busy minds. The physical aspects of Yoga that you may be familiar with (eg. downward dog) were developed to help keep the body in optimal condition.
As stated in Optimal Movements previous blog, ‘efficient movement in your body is one of the key elements to staying injury free’. Yoga offers runners a safe and effective way of achieving this. A regular practice will increase your range of mobility, release tension and tightness from muscles, and build strength and endurance. It will enable you to restore your body back to balance, reduce risk of injury and enhance your physical performance. Yoga allows you to slow down and really tune into how you and your body feels, and what you need to be healthy and well. Sounds pretty great right?
So, as the nights start drawing in and we begin to move into the busiest and coldest time of year, allow yourself some time to slow down and nourish your body so that you can continue running all winter long. I know that I will, after all, all I really want for Christmas is to stay healthy…and maybe have a new pair of trainers!