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What Are the Advantages of Pilates for Runners?

While a lot of runners might not see the slowness and control of Pilates as appealing, there are plenty of benefits to introducing Pilates into your workout routine in the long run. In a study published in 2018 by PLOS ONE, professional runners who engage in Pilates twice a week showed a significant increase in their running times and improvement in their running ability. Here are just a few reasons why Pilates training can benefit runners:

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a low-impact exercise that often makes use of various pieces of equipment to aid in movements, such as exercise balls, foam rollers, and Pilates Reformer machines, but can be done without any equipment. The main principles of Pilates are alignment, breathing, and core.

What Are the Benefits?

Full body workout

Pilates is, in the most simple sense, a full body, low-impact workout. This is greatly beneficial to many athletes, not just runners, who wish to vary their exercise routines. Each exercise is designed to improve the alignment of the body, which in the long run helps to refine your posture. And, though it is a full-body workout, many of the movements greatly improve core strength and stability.

Mindfulness

When running we tend to allow our minds to drift as we are performing a repetitive motion with the body that does not require much attention. In the long term, this repetitive motion and our lack of connection with the body can lead to injury or bodily imbalance. Pilates requires you to slow down and connect with each part of the body as your exercise, which greatly improves your body awareness. This awareness will carry over into your running, helping you to avoid injury in the long term.

Breathing

Pilates workouts require you to connect to your breath as proper breathing is integral to this exercise modality. A good instructor will help you to learn proper diaphragmatic breathing, which is a deeply aware method of breathing that focuses on oxygenising each muscle as it is used. This method of breathing can be very helpful for runners by helping you to properly oxygenate your body while running and improve your endurance.

Alignment and balance

Lastly, Pilates can help with improving your stability, posture, and alignment. As mentioned above, runners often develop imbalances in the body due to the repetitive motion of running. Pilates works to help correct misalignment in the hip, knees, and ankles as well as stabilising leg muscles and core. Even small adjustments to your posture can make a huge difference to your running ability over time.

Pilates is a simple way to improve your running ability, so whether you are doing matwork at home or making use of the equipment that a class environment can provide, consider adding Pilates to your workout routine.

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