Running is great. We can all pat ourselves on the back for choosing such a healthy activity and getting our blood pumping and endorphins up when we lace up our runners and hit the track or trail. However, it is a high impact activity that puts significant stress on our lower back and legs. Any imbalances in our body can have a direct impact on our runs and can cause pain and injuries - especially in our knees and hips. Pilates helps balance these things out. Although runners are usually super strong in their calves, hip-flexors and quadriceps, we often have tight IT bands from the impact. Pilates strengthens the hamstrings, glutes and inner thighs - which takes pressure off the front and side of the legs, helping stop TFL, IT band pain and shin-splints. Plus, Pilates helps maintain better stability through the entire body - not only when running, but throughout all our daily activities. Pilates targets the pelvis, abs and back in exercises, resulting in a stable and strong core - which protects our spine and allows pain-free, functional movement, whatever we are doing.
Most Pilates movements work many muscles at once and focus on stretching, mobilizing, stabilizing and re-alignment. The good thing about Pilates is that once you finish a session, you take that aligned movement out into your daily world. This means sitting straighter at your desk at work, reaching and carrying and lifting objects without compromising your spine, knees or shoulders and generally feeling lighter and taller daily.
Some of the best Pilates exercises to strengthen and lengthen your muscles are:
Bridging and hip rolls
Straight leg raises
These, along with static and dynamic stretches mean you leave your practice feeling loose and limber, and ready for your next run.
For more information please go to: http://www.swiftpilates.com.au/