How can a runner benefit from Pilates?
Pilates can improve your performance in just about any area, whether running, hiking, tennis, squash, football, hockey, skiing, cycling, etc.
Essentially, Pilates increases core strength. What is core strength? It is not just abdominal strength but includes your entire torso from hips and abdominals through to your back and neck. Your core acts as a stabiliser and a central platform to transfer forces when you are engaging in activities such as running, cycling, etc. When the muscles of your core are strong and balanced, so your performance improves, giving you better control and strength.
An athlete’s priority should be first to achieve core stability then to work on movement. Pilates, by improving the musculature around the spine, not only protects it, but in the process develops correct patterns of movement and improves posture. The result is that you are less prone to re-injure yourself or to hurt another area through compensation.
As a runner fatigues, so his gait can worsen. Pilates helps your body maintain strength and form, even as you tire, helping you to keep a fluid stride.
A regular Pilates work-out also helps maintain joint mobility, improves flexibility and makes you more aware of your body. In this way, Pilates decreases recovery time after a strenuous run or even after injury. By keeping your muscles and joints in better condition, you feel less fatigued after a strong workout.
When practicing Pilates, you need to be aware of breathing patterns, inflating the bottom part of your lungs in order to engage your diaphragm. This increased awareness of your respiration translates well into breath control whilst running.
Another fundamental of Pilates is the emphasis on balance control. As we age, so our balance worsens, but regular practice of Pilates will help maintain balance. As a runner, especially as you get older, a trip or stumble can be tragic. By practicing Pilates regularly, you can call on your core muscles to save you from a tumble or fall.
No matter what sport you are engaged in, Pilates can be of enormous benefit to your fitness routine, improving strength, endurance and posture, whilst saving you from potential injury. To learn more about Pilates and what it can do for you, contact the friendly team at Williamstown Osteopathy and Pilates on (03) 9397 8877. We love helping you get the best out of your pursuits.