Now that all the Marathon palaver is over, some of you might be thinking about signing up for the next one, some of you will be focusing on rest and recovery, and some of you will be thinking about your summer body… Whatever your goal is, let’s start with building your foundations!
Most people, including runners, aren’t aware of the importance of a strong core! Bio-mechanically speaking a strong core is the anchor of not only a good running technique but generally helps prevent injuries, protects your organs and central nervous system, banishes back pain, strong confident posture, and gets you looking great in a swimsuit!
Building your core strength will create the foundations for more effective training, whether that’s for running or solely to better your Pilates technique.
A quote from an online journalist, introducing Pilates to their regime, says it all… “I noticed when I started doing Pilates and a lot of core engagement that it got easier to snowboard, or do complicated yoga poses, also. Those core muscles are connected to your legs, to the way you stand, squat, sit. It’s not just about the abdominal muscles, but also training your back, your glutes, and the entire area that connects to your spinal cord and helps your body support your spine, so that the burden of supporting your body weight isn’t just placed on your bones.”
A stronger core, back/spine, hips, and pelvis are the main reward of Pilates, as well as increased flexibility, strength and range of movement. However, the second technique to a better foundation is less talked about as most people see it as a ‘given’; Breathing. The breath is imperative not only to runners but also to those who’s goal with Pilates is to relax and de-stress.
Runners tend to breathe from their chest instead of their diaphragm, this can hinder the breathing pattern and rhythm when running and also tires your lungs out long before your body tires. Controlled breathing is also one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body.
Most Pilates moves are combined with breathing exercises, therefore is a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress. The breath can also aid with recruiting the core muscles; certain breaths are introduced in Pilates exercises to deepen abdominal work.
Understanding the importance of these two areas, core and breathing, will give you the foundations to a fitter future!