Looking for a complement to your running routine? Yoga is one of many fitness activities that can make you a better runner, thanks to its mental and physical benefits.

You’ll get stronger

Practicing yoga is a fantastic way to strengthen key muscle groups for running with minimal impact. If you’re training for a race, upping your mileage, or just beginning to make running a routine, incorporating strength training to complement your cardio is key to both progress and injury prevention. Yoga works not only superficial muscle groups through bodyweight exercises but also paraspinal muscles, which support overall lengthening and alleviate pressure from your back. Work your core in a Vinyasa, or try out a favorite Yogi move for killer quadriceps: runner’s pose!

You’ll get more flexible

Improving flexibility is another key to injury prevention­. Some runners may think yoga isn’t for them because they aren’t flexible­, but you don’t need natural flexibility to reap yoga’s health benefits. Push into a downward dog to stretch your calves, or fold into a forward bend to fire up your hamstrings. Some yoga styles even target myofascial stretches to get to the connective tissues around the muscle that can prohibit afull range of motion. Try out a beginner’s class or look for runner-specific yoga with an instructor who will help you position your body with proper technique. Many cities offer free outdoor classes in the summer, but you may have to bring your own mat and props. Or check out online videos to learn some fundamentals for practice at home.

You’ll stress less

Running is high adrenaline, heart-pumping exercise. Squeezing in a run before work or the pressure of an upcoming race may add unneeded stress to an otherwise pleasurable experience. Get better at focusing on why you run with the mind/body connection yoga facilitates. Body awareness­, from learning yogic breathing to being more attentive to your form­, can help you refocus to keep running a healthy, energizing part of your life.