Real talk. Heart health is important and running is an affordable and effective way to improve your cardiovascular fitness. However, for some people running may result in lower body aches and pains or even injuries, which brings us to Pilates on the Reformer.
Whether you are new to running or are a seasoned runner, Pilates on the Reformer can be an excellent way to cross train for this activity. It can ease running related joint discomfort and may even reduce your risk of injury or help you run faster.
Below are three ways that Pilates on the Reformer can help you be a better runner.
Benefits of Pilates for Runners
Pilates on the Reformer improves upper back, hip, and ankle flexibility.
Running is often associated with better cardio. However, to run well and disperse the impact of the exercise evenly across all of your joints, you want to have good flexibility in your upper back, hips, and ankles. Being flexible in these areas will allow you to run more efficiently and therefore faster with less impact on your knees, lower back, shins, and feet.
Exercises on the Pilates Reformer involve stretching and strengthening through these body parts in a targeted way, which helps you increase flexibility over time.
Pilates on the Reformer increases hip stability and glute strength.
An important aspect of running is your ability to control how your foot and knee align when your foot hits or pushes off of the ground. Your ability to do this largely depends on glute strength and how stable your hips are.
Many Pilates Reformer exercises teach you how to stabilize your pelvis and hips and align your knees when you move. These same exercises also help you improve glute strength, which can carry over into better running mechanics.
The end result is better alignment of your feet and knees with less impact on your joints when you run!
Pilates on the Reformer helps you develop core strength and awareness around your posture.
Core strength or the ability to generate core tension for a given task, can help you propel yourself forward with less effort, which simply means that you can run faster without working as hard.
Pilates on the Reformer teaches you how to engage your core and support your back during exercises, which can help you run better. Additionally, Pilates on the Reformer increases body awareness, so you can better sense the position of your joints and posture when standing, sitting, walking, or running.
When you are able to sense where your body is in space, it makes it easier to move quickly and adjust how you are moving. This can be particularly helpful when running, because if you are aware of how you are positioned, you can make simple adjustments to your stride to help you run with more ease and less stress on your joints.