Similar to Yoga, Pilates also challenges a person’s flexibility, balance, core fitness and strength; all of which are valuable to a runner. Below are some benefits to convince yourself to start trying out Pilates:
1. Run longer and faster
Pilates helps to develop a strong core by supporting and strengthening the muscles of the torso, hips shoulders and pelvis. These can eventually lead to a huge positive difference in posture, technique, balance and stability. A stabilised musculature and strong sciatic area is essential for running uphill and downhill efficiently. With the correct Pilates exercise, one can strengthen the underused muscles of legs and supporting hip muscles. This corrects muscle imbalances and therefore makes the legs stronger and able to handle more exertion. While enhancing concentration through focused breathing, Pilates exercises also expand the diaphragm, increasing oxygenation and stamina. (Source: Balanced Body)
2. Prevent Injuries
Running is a great way to keep in great cardiovascular shape but it may cause body asymmetries as certain body muscles become overused while some are underused. As a result, some people may experience common problems such as lower back pain, hip bursitis or even anterior knee problems.
Pilates exercises allow one to focus on proper movement with better kinesthetic awareness. With proper posture and efficient movement during running, runners can expect less chance of injury and also decrease fatigue because of less strain on the body.
3. Aid in Recovery
According to experts, Pilates is effective in injury rehabilitation settings as it can provide athletes with a challenging workout without impact or excessive weight bearing.
Pilates can be an excellent training modality during active recovery, which is the period of muscle regeneration after a strenuous phase of competition or activity. It helps by gently working through movement patterns that allow the muscles and joint structures to achieve their ideal functional positions and sport-specific skills. In fact, Pilates has become a popular option for physical therapists to use as a form of rehabilitation. (Source: Advanced Healthcare Network)
While Pilates has many potential benefits for runners, it is necessary to note that not all Pilates movements promote the right movements for runners. It is important to practice the right Pilates exercises that allow one to integrate movement of the legs with movement of the core. All in all, Pilates focuses on achieving optimal posture during functional movements, and runners should definitely give Pilates a try!