As you get started with your running routine, to stay motivated to keep with it, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing whatever you can to feel your best. Far too many runners who begin their journey into running only run, and in time, this leads to overuse injuries.

Doing some cross training along with your running is an excellent way to prevent pain and nagging injuries from creeping up and to also keep you more mentally fresh as well. Those who incorporate more variety into their fitness regime will tend to find they stick with it longer because they aren’t facing those feelings of boredom that can often come about with doing just one activity only.

One of the best cross-training variations of exercise that you’ll want to make sure you’re getting involved with is yoga. Yoga is a very comprehensive form of exercise that is going to offer benefits in many regards, both for your mind as well as your body.

Let’s take a closer look into why you should be doing yoga so that you can see for certain what it has to offer.

Improved Flexibility

First, yoga is going to help to work overtime to improve your degree of flexibility. Maintaining a highly limber body will be important for optimal running success because the more flexible you are, the longer your stride can comfortably be and the less tight and stiff you’ll find your muscles get.

In addition to this, if you are also considering doing any strength training for muscle strengthening purposes, you’ll also see a greater range of motion, leading to a better performance there as well.

Reduced Risk Of Injury

Next, yoga is also very ideal for helping you reduce your risk of injury. With more flexible and pliable muscles, you’re less likely to suffer from strains or pulls as you go about your running routine or any other exercises you happen to be doing.

This reduced risk of injury can keep you on the running program longer, so is definitely an ideal scenario.

Better Mind-Muscle Control

Better mind-muscle control is the next reason to consider adding yoga to your fitness routine.  Mind-muscle control refers to your own ability to really focus in on a muscle group and have it contract while the other muscles in the body are resting.

Many people lack mind-muscle control and as a result, just go about the movement pattern. This is what you want to avoid as the more focused you are on the actual muscles contracting, the more likely it is that you are going to work them in a manner that’s beneficial for you.

Those who lack mind-muscle control also typically experience a greater risk of injury, so that’s something else that you need to know and remember.

Lower Stress Level

Moving along, if you suffer from a very high stress level, this too can impact your running performance. Those who are highly stressed on a day to day basis will secrete more cortisol, which can actually lead to lean muscle mass loss and fat accumulation – two things that will go against your gal of building muscle.

Yoga will lower your stress level considerably, helping you feel healthier, happier, and more energetic. This translates into a significantly better running performance.

Those who are highly stressed may also carry more tension in their shoulders, which can impede running performance.

Muscular Strength Gains

Finally, don’t overlook the fact that yoga can also help you boost strength as well.  If you’re doing the right variety of yoga training that requires more strength for holding yoga positions and core support, you’ll see excellent transfer over benefits to your running performance.

Since as a runner you don’t want to develop too much muscle bulk, yoga can help you maintain a more streamlined appearance.

So there you have some of the reasons to consider getting involved with yoga as you go about your running training routine. It really is one of the top beneficial forms of cross training that a runner could do and will help you out in terms of both your mind and body.

If you’re doing a program such as Zen Lab’s C25K, you should have no issue incorporating yoga into your workout routine one to two times per week to see these benefits. It’s not an activity you need to do daily to see benefits, so fit it in where you can and you’ll be happy you did.

Have you tried yoga before? How has it helped with your overall flexibility? Share your experiences or suggestions below!