Get the most out of your run with Pilates

Many runners feel that their running activities alone provide them with a well-rounded fitness program. While it is a great cardiovascular workout it can also lead to imbalances in the body, which may lead to injuries and pain.

Danny Yeo a Senior Instructor at Focus Pilates has come up with some Pilates exercises to ensure you get the most out of your run and stay injury free. Combining running with regular Pilates is a great way to have well-rounded physical fitness and ensure even muscle strength and balance.

The best way to do this is to ensure you have correct posture. This may sound simple enough but there are a lot of things you need to remember…

  • keep your pelvis stable  (avoid too much arch in your lower back, by drawing abs in)
  • avoid dropping the hip on one side
  • keep the shoulders over the hips
  • open the chest muscles for maximum breathing
  • avoid lifting the shoulders
  • work on good alignment in the knee, ankle and foot.

So how do you remember to do all of this when you’re having a hard enough time breathing and keeping your legs moving? Well it will take a lot of practice but practicing Pilates will also help you to achieve this by:

  • teaching awareness of good posture and the importance of a strong core
  • increasing core strength and correcting postural imbalances
  • working all muscle groups to create uniform muscle development
  • fostering good movement of the spine
  • teaching breathing techniques and control
  • ensuring muscles around the hip joint stay flexible and strong to support the movement of your legs.
  • increasing balance in the muscles of the back and hips
  • Improve co-ordination of upper and lower body to improve energy efficiency.

Which exercises will help me to be a better runner?

Exercises you can do in the studio

Foot work: Using the reformer this exercises and its variations are great for improving leg alignment, stretching the Iliotibial Band to prevent knee pain, strengthening piriformis and adductors and improving calf strength and flexibility. >view exercise

Standing hip stretch: Using the reformer for this exercise strengthens hip extensors, lateral hip stabilizers, stretches tight hip flexors and improve gait pattern strategy. >view exercise

Exercises you can do at home

Bridging: Improve spine mobility, strengthen core muscles and your hamstrings.  >view exercise

Side lying: Very effective for stabilizing your pelvis and strengthening the hip muscles. >view exercise

Leg pull front:Very effective as it engages every part of the body. Strengthening the stabilizers of the shoulders, pelvis and abdominals. >view exercise

Single leg kick: Focuses strengthening the the hamstrings, and is also a great way to practice keeping your abdominals lifted, chest open, and shoulders stable. >view exercise

Top 5 running injuries and how to treat and prevent them

Something extra to get you motivated

Like to go running but can’t find the motivation? Check out these tips for motivation, support and encouragement.

Running tracks in Singapore: If you’re stuck for running tracks around Singapore this website provides great maps on the best places to run http://sgroutes.blogspot.com/

Running communities: If you want to join like-minded people for a job you can join a running community such as SG Runners to keep you motivated. http://sgrunners.com/blog/

Running events: If you like to run but need an excuse to get out and about these events can get you motivated. More information can be fund at http://myrunningaddiction.wordpress.com/2011-singapore-running-events/

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