Pilates & Yoga (P&Y) offer several benefits to both athletes and non-athletes. From physical benefits such as improved flexibility, balance, strength, coordination, and posture to mental benefits such as reduced stress, improved mood, calmness, and improved energy. There are countless reasons to include both as part of your workout routine. P&Y provide athletes with functional workouts that incorporate several exercises directly impacting both running form and strength. Not a flexible person? Not a problem. The more you perform these routines, the more flexible you will become. P&Y condition the whole body, contributing to healthy and balanced muscles.
Here are a few of the many benefits that come from P&Y:
Lengthens Your Muscles: Leaving you with lean, long muscles that help with strength and speed and reduced risk of injury. This also increases flexibility, which helps improve your range of motion.
Focuses on Strengthening the Body’s Core (midsection): By developing a strong core, you will improve your balance and stability, as well as your running form and posture. You will also take a lot of pressure off your back, decreasing your risk of injury or lower back pain.
Addresses Muscular Imbalances: Several muscle groups are focused on individually in P&Y, and many exercises are performed one side at a time. This helps to determine muscular imbalances and gives you an idea of what muscles you need to work on.
Balance and Coordination: An obvious benefit to any sport or activity. Improved balance and coordination will help reduce your risk of injury and improve your performance.
Posture and Mobility: A strengthened core and back help to improve posture and relieve pain that may come from sitting too long at school/work (i.e. hunched over a computer). Improved posture and mobility also help to improve form and efficiency while running.
Mental Break: The mental concentration and controlled breathing help to relax the mind from outside activity and reduces stress. It provides a “mental break” while focusing on strengthening both your body and mind. It can also help to improve your mood and energy levels.
Here's how to get started:
Choose a 45-60 minutes beginner's yoga or pilates class and go at least once per week. If you've previously taken yoga or pilates classes and have some experience, you can find your own videos to perform at home. However, I highly recommend attending an actual class to keep yourself accountable with a professional to help you identify your personal strengths and weaknesses.
For those living in the St. Louis area, I highly recommend trying out Pilates 4 Pros and Yoga Source. Those living in Lincoln or Omaha, I recommend looking into Lotus House of Yoga. And Philadelphia, check out Core Power & Philly Power Yoga & Thrive Pilates. If you’re traveling and don’t have enough time to visit a studio, try www.doyogawithme.com, or download a yoga app with videos on your phone.