How Pilates Helps Runners

Running and Pilates are two different exercises – running involves a rather high-impact, repeated motion while Pilates is low-impact and varied. However, Pilates is said to be an excellent complement to running. Here are some of the ways these two exercises can work in synergy.

How Pilates Helps Runners

Pilates and Posture

Pilates is said to improve posture by strengthening core muscles and making the practitioner aware of his or her body’s position at any given time. Being aware of the body’s alignment and posture can lower a runner’s risk of injury. Being aware of correct posture can also reduce or prevent pain that may result from running. In other words, Pilates can help you run more effectively and safely.

Core Muscle Strength

As noted above, Pilates is geared toward strengthening the core muscle groups. These are the muscles in the trunk and hips, which include the deep back muscles and abdominals. They help you keep your balance when sitting or standing – in other words, you use them all the time without even realizing it.

If core muscles are weak in a runner, it may increase his or her risk of injury. It also might affect endurance adversely. Giving those core muscles strength may enhance posture and overall body stability.

Body Awareness

Pilates teaches body awareness – that is, you learn to recognize your body’s position in space, how your muscles and joints feel, and how you can correct any problems. Being aware of one’s body in this way may help runners gain insight into weaknesses that, if unaddressed, could increase the risk of injury.

For example, a runner who is unaware of his or her body may keep running when there is a physical problem, or something a bit “off.” This can result in injury. A body-aware runner, however, might be more attuned to the body’s warning signals and slow down or stop the run before the problem becomes an injury.


Surprisingly, breathing in a really health-promoting way is something many of us have to be taught. The deep breathing of Pilates may help runners with their overall lung capacity and function. Being able to take in oxygen and use it efficiently is key to successful running, and Pilates may help in that regard.

Whole Body Workout

Pilates works all muscle groups, so your runners’ muscles will get a workout, too. It stands to reason that any activity that strengthens the muscles would help another activity that requires those muscles, but it’s more than that. Pilates promotes the strength of specific muscles, and also emphasizes flexibility. Have muscles that are both strong and flexible can help prevent running injuries.

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