One of the best and convenient exercises to lose weight and strengthen your muscles is to run. You only need to a comfortable pair of running shoes, and you are ready to go. Most of the people know that warm-up before running is necessary as it helps in loosening the muscles to prevent injuries but they failed to see the importance of cool-down after running session.
Most of the runners tend to sprint for few yards after running then totally stop. Either they go to take a shower or return to their daily activities. Almost every exercise-related heart attacks occur after the person has stopped running as they did not perform cool down activities.
When you are running, your supply large amount of blood from your legs to your brain and heart and when you do not perform cool down after the run, the blood supply suddenly decreases so your brain and heart do not have time to adjust to the change. You could do some stretching after the run. Stretching after your running session will prevent muscle injuries such as muscle cramps and soreness.
Yoga is all about stretching. Every workout in yoga requires you to stretch your muscles. Furthermore, it not only increases the flexibility and strength of your muscles but also helps in clearing your mind from stress. So why don’t you try to use yoga to perform cool down exercises after your running session?
Few of the effective yoga poses that are the perfect choice to be carried out after the run are mentioned below:
- Sugarcane in the Half Moonlight
Start this yoga exercise by standing at the right side of table or chair with your feet placed together. Then you should bend your left knee and hold your left foot in your left hand. To support yourself, lift of the muscles of the leg on which you are standing and also contract the hip muscles which you are using for standing. Rest your right forearm on the chair or table by fold forwarding from your hips. Your right kneecap should align with your right foot and face forward. Open your left hip to lift your left toward the left side. You could place your hand on the seat of the chair, yoga block or floor to maintain balance for this pose for five breaths. After stand straight and repeat it by using the other side. This pose helps in opening the standing leg hamstrings and opposite leg’s hip flexors and quadriceps.
- Triangle Pose
First, stand while putting distance between your feet and turn your left foot slightly in. Put your right foot out at ninety-degree by rolling your right thigh open. Put your feet in such a way that your right front foot is parallel with the arch of your left foot. Exert pressure on your feet and pull your thighs in an upward position. Inhale and then stretch your arms at shoulder height. Move your torso towards your right foot while positioning your hips towards your left heel. For support, put your right hand on the floor, ankle or a yoga block. Hold that position for five breaths and then come back to your original position. This pose ensures that your hamstrings and inner thighs are stretched. It allows the body to open and expand laterally which is ideal for the runners who use vertical landing for running.
- Downward-Facing Dog
Starts making this pose by using your hands and knees. Put your palms in front of your shoulder with hand print distance between them. Position your toes under your body while lifting your knees off the floor. Move your hips upwards and your body away from your hands. You should keep your knees bend while lengthening your torso. Put pressure on your hands to pull your arms up and then shift your body weight onto your legs. Then straighten your knees to lift your thighs upwards. Put your quads on work by pointing your kneecaps upwards. Keep that position for five or ten breaths then lower your knees to return to original position. Downward-Facing Dog helps in stretching your calves and hamstrings and also lengthens your spine.
- Upward-Facing Dog
Lie in the position that your stomach and face are towards the floor. Place your hands on the floor parallel to your lower rib and your wrists should be aligned under your bent elbows. Extend your legs backward and put the top of your feet on the floor. Straighten your arms by exerting pressure on your hands, pull your chest upwards and lift the hips and front of your thighs off the floor. Hold this position for few breaths and return to original position. To make it easy for beginners, tuck your toes instead of pointing them and if you experience tightness in your lower body part, increase the length of your tailbone by resting your knees on the floor. This pose opens your hip flexors and helps in stretching your whole front body. It helps in expanding your chest and shoulders which are useful for breathing.
- Bound Angle Pose
Sit on the floor with your knees bend so the soles of your feet are put together. Start this pose by putting your hands behind you for balance and increase the length of your spine towards the roof. Open your inner thighs towards your inner knees and outer knees towards your outer hips. Then put your hands on your ankles and lower your head towards your feet. Five to ten breaths are enough to keep this pose. This pose helps in opening your inner thighs.
- Wide-Legged Forward Bend: Prasarita Padottanasana
Place your legs in a wide stance and your feet should be in line with each other with your toes pointing forward. Inhale and put your hand behind your back by placing your fingers. Keep your spine in a straight position and also keep it long. Exhale and use your arms as a lever to bend your upper body as much as you can. Keep this pose for five breaths and return to your original position. This pose stretches your hamstrings and perfects for professional as well as amateur runners.
- Eagle Arms: Garudusana
Cross your arms in such a way that your right arm is over your left arm and interlock them to bring your palms together. For beginners, if you cannot press your palms together, just connect the back of your hands. Bring your elbows parallel to your shoulder and place your palms in the middle of your face. To increase the intensity, put your thumbs in between your eyebrows. Inhale and stretch your spine. Then exhale and lean back a little. Keep this position for five breaths. This pose is excellent for opening shoulders.
- Cow Face Arms: Gomukhasana
This pose is also effective in shoulder-opening. Inhale and bring your right arm above your head and bring your left hand on your back. Stretch your spine to its maximum length. Exhale and bring your right palm to touch your left hand by bending the right elbow. Keep in check that your shoulders are stretch to their maximum length and maintain this position for five breaths.
- Low Lunge
First, establish as much distance as you can between your feet by taking a step forward. Put your body into lunge position but instead of putting your hands on your right and left leg, place them on the ground. Bring your upper body near the floor while keeping your hips level to allow them to stretch. This pose is not only hip-opening pose but also stretches your hamstrings and thighs.
- Low Lunge Twist
If you want to make low lunge challenging, just twist your body. While holding a lunge position, put your left hand on your left leg, or you could choose to stretch in the air. Turn and stretch your chest towards left side. Inhale and stretch your spine straight. Exhale and twist your chest to the left more. Your sole of the right foot should be pointing towards your hips. Keep this position for five breaths and repeat the pose by changing the sides.
As yoga is all about stretching so, it makes your muscles strong and flexible. These exercises help in reducing muscle injuries such as muscle soreness and cramps.