Long distance runners benefit from AntiGravity aerial yoga regimen.

Long distance runners know the toll the road takes on their body. Especially in the cold on New England, where runners train in all conditions throughout the winter for their long Patriot's Day run in Boston, there is a physical price to be paid. In addition to requiring dedication, endurance, and stamina, distance runners need time to heal. The benefits of yoga for distance runners have been well documented in the medical literature. Consideration should also be made to supplementing one’s training to reduce the risk of injury through a regimen of Antigravity ® aerial yoga. There are some key reasons why inclusion of such a regimen would be beneficial.

Joint & Spinal Decompression and Better Stretching

Running, by its nature, is a high impact sport. With every foot strike and mile, serial pressure is placed on the runner’s joints, spinal column, and extremities. Biomechanically, pressure is transmitted from the road through the feet, ankles, knees, and joints in a pounding, repetitive manner. With time, increased pressure builds and the distance runners can feel it in their joints. Given the repetition, disc compression is also to be expected. Distance running overtaxes certain muscle groups, including hamstrings, hip flexors and calves. It also puts added pressure on the stabilizing musculature of the outer hip and thigh, not to mention the IT band, which can be particularly problematic for many runners.

Aerial Yoga, such as AntiGravity, provides a proven and safe way to decompress one’s spine through utilizing aerial techniques in a silk hammock suspended in air. The concept is simple: body and mind are focused through a variety of inversions designed to heal and restore spirt and vitality. The pounding road creates compression, and the inversions in the hammock are designed to counter with decompression. By using the AntiGravity hammock, extra relief is given to one's hip and neck, which allows them to stretch out with safe support.

While different yoga modalities might seem intimating to the uninitiated, the AntiGraivty hammock is designed to extremely accessible. The hammock is like having the perfect balancing assist of one's own, personal stretching companion. The hammock cradles one’s body in the safe confines of silk so one can actually stretch further and more effectively than on the ground. Many professional athletes, after an AntiGravity class, will describe it as the “best stretch” they have ever had.

It is Good Alternative Workout

Inversions help regulate blood flow, including heart and head. This results in a fantastic detox. It also provides an alternative workout of the heart muscle than triggered by a run, and variety increases endurance. According to a recent study from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), participants who did three 50-minute aerial yoga classes a week for six weeks lost an average of two and a half pounds, 2 percent body fat, and about one inch from their waist, while simultaneously increasing their VO2 max (a measure of fitness) by 11 percent.

Balance and Injury Prevention

There are a variety of things one can do on their “rest” day to help with recovery and reduce the risk of injury on your long runs. In addition to reducing the risk of injury through stretching, balance is key. Any distance runner knows the pitfalls of being off balance, missing a step, and having a twisted ankle, sprain, or other injury. This is especially so for cross-country runners or those running long distances. There is a system which plays a crucial role in helping regulate coordination and body awareness called the proprioceptive sense. This is essentially an unconscious sense that sends us messages from our muscles and joints. It helps regulate how our body is positioned and balanced. The silk hammock actually helps increase proprioception, resulting in better coordination and balance. This is one of the reasons why aerial classes such as AG Restorative is favored by neophytes and the elderly, as it helps with coordination. So too, increase balance and coordination helps reduce the risk of injury for distance runners.

Mental Edge

New science has revealed just how vital a role is played by the mind for athletes and distance runners. While the axiom of “mind of matter” has been around forever, the benefits of foundational visualization techniques, through which athletes are able to empty their mind, focus their breath, and have a physical reaction to visualized imagery, is a powerful tool. Implementing a meditation program is especially helpful during periods of recovery when the body is not physically able to be out running.

Relaxing in a cocooned hammock helps regulate breath and allows the mind to become focused. It is also tremendous fun.