How Pilates Can Help You Finish Your Next Race Feeling Stronger
If you’re looking to improve your running form and efficiency in preparation for your next big race, Pilates is the ideal exercise to incorporate into your cross-training routine. Pilates is a series of exercises that emphasize controlled movement, postural awareness, focused breathing, and muscle balance in both flexibility and strength.
The series was developed by German trainer Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s, and has expanded to studios and gyms across the world. Many of the exercises focus on building the strength and endurance of your deep abdominal muscles and improving the mobility of your thoracic spine, all while pushing you to enhance your physical and mental endurance by integrating mind-body awareness and breath into each movement. This increases your ability to keep a more controlled movement pattern with each stride, helping you use your energy wisely as you run.
Over the long term, improved movement control can lead to a decreased risk of injury. Studies have shown that 6- and 12-week Pilates programs significantly improve functional movement patterns and running performance while also reducing energy expenditure among recreational runners.
Because Pilates-based exercises strengthen the muscles that support your spine, they can promote a more upright running posture. This allows you to take fuller, deeper breaths as you run, bringing more oxygen into your bloodstream and boosting your endurance. Pilates can help you cross the finish line feeling strong.
About the Author
Dana Aaron is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedics with HSS Rehabilitation. She is also a certified Pilates Instructor and uses Pilates-based principles to enhance her physical therapy care. Her clinical interests include orthopedics and sports medicine, with a special interest in treating runners.