Brb. Running to Pilates...

By Jessica Peterson

Pilates is having a moment. From Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arietta to everyone’s favorite Hollywood celebrities, people are discovering the many benefits Pilates offers on its own or in combination with other exercises like running. Pilates exercises create a stronger, more flexible spine and core, while promoting faster recovery from strains and other injuries. 

For a runner, posture is one of the keys to success, and posture is very dependent on a strong core. Pilates develops this by supporting and strengthening the muscles of the torso, hips, shoulders and pelvis. These can eventually lead to a huge positive difference in your posture, technique, balance and stability. It enables a runner to focus on where their head and neck are in relation to the spine and pelvis, down through the legs and toes. 

Pilates focuses on creating flexibility. Some runners avoid yoga because they don't want to "over-stretch” their muscles.  Pilates will not do that as stretches are never held longer than a few seconds.

Joint mobility, improved flexibility, body awareness and a strong core are just a few of the benefits of Pilates that can help with running.  

Additionally, Pilates will:

  • Decrease body/muscle asymmetries
  • Elongate and align the spine for better stability
  • Increase overall flexibility, strength, and balance runners often lack
  • Strengthen key areas such as the hips and core
  • Increase range of motion in hips and shoulders
  • Enhance concentration through focused breathing
  • Provide better run posture
  • Help bodies recover faster from injuries

But how does this relate to running specifically? A stronger and more stable core helps a runner:

  • Run more efficiently uphill with a stabilized musculature
  • Run more efficiently downhill with a stronger and more balanced sciatic area
  • Experience less tightening of the neck, head and shoulders
  • Increase oxygenation and stamina with a diaphragm that is able to fully expand
  • Better kinaesthetic awareness
  • Decrease fatigue because of less strain on the body

Have you tried Pilates? Let us know what your favorite studio is in the comments below.