Have you been running ?

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Why Runners should be doing Pilates…

Running is one of the most natural forms of exercise whether you love to run or have just started, its a great way to exercise particularly at the moment. Its free, gets you outside into the fresh air and can reduce your risk of long-term illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood !

But if you’re honest how often are you aware of your body moving through space ? Is your main focus to hit the mile markers or the pace on our watches?

In Pilates, the main focus is on slow, deliberate, and appropriate movement. Whether circling the legs separate from the pelvis or contracting the inner core to help stabilise a position, each movement is thoughtful. Applying a similar approach to your running can really help!

Running is and can be a pretty high impact sport, it is important whether you’re a pro or just starting out to really think about having good form whilst out and about. Proper running form consists of short quick strides, you should feel as if you are leaning forward from your ankles almost falling into each step, allowing gravity to propel you forward and thinking of pressing the road back with your hamstrings. This will help keep your hip knee and ankle joints aligned. Something we work on all the time in Pilates.

It’s all in the core

So when we talk about the core in pilates, we’re not just thinking about the tummy muscles we are focusing on the back, and muscles surrounding the hips ad spine too.

The core works at keeping a solid structure and base of support whilst you’re running. If you do trail runs or cross country runs then you may have already noticed the uneven surfaces you run on. By building up the core muscles this helps you to keep you upright on these surfaces. If you don’t improve the core, then your legs will usually do this job instead. However, asking your legs to perform this task will mean they stop doing the task of moving forward quickly and this will slow you down.

Anti rotation is a big part of running too and this comes from good balance. You don’t want your arms crossing your body or your torso/pelvis to twist as you run. This leads to overexertion and inefficiency. Pilates helps you learn how to differentiate the movement of your limbs from your spine, so you can use your core to balance and stabilise.

In a recent study published in Plos One, those who took part in a 12-week course of Pilates (two one-hour sessions each week) significantly improved their 5K time, VO2 max and the metabolic cost of running.

So you can see there are some really good reasons to strengthen the core and focus on a pilates based routine as part of your weekly exercise regime.

Key Exercises to try ( not including all your stretches) are :

  • standing balance work
  • glute bridge
  • clam, knee openers
  • superman
  • plank walkouts
  • leg circles
  • side reach into side plank

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