SoulCore for improving flexibility, strength, and faith
I am certain that those of you in the Catholic Women Run Challenge are extremely busy. Most women are! In fact, trying to find time to run may even prove to be a bit complicated. Plus, the Catholic Women Run Challenge also asks that you add stretching and strengthening components in addition to the running workouts!
Many runners avoid cross-training activities such as stretching and strength-training because of limited time. If they have to prioritize their time, they would rather focus only on running. Perhaps you're thinking of skipping the stretch days, too. I would encourage you to think again.
Why stretching is important for runners
While having running as your sole form of exercise can be fun, it may also lead to overuse injuries. Therefore, it is important to add stretching and strength-training into your workout routine to help avoid these injuries. In addition to injury prevention, these types of exercises can also improve overall running performance.
Stretching exercises help by improving flexibility, circulation, muscle coordination, mental clarity, and range of motion. Stretching also boosts energy, prevents pain, and helps to eliminate lactic acid. Strength-training helps to improve posture, reduces stress on the lower body, and helps the body to generate more power and speed. These are all attributes that will eventually lead to better running performance.
So how can you add stretching and strength-training into the Catholic Women Run Challenge while also working on your spiritual well-being? The answer: a program called SoulCore.
What is SoulCore?
SoulCore is a relatively new program, created by Colleen Scariano and Deanne Miller. It is a movement of its own. It focuses on strengthening the body and soul by combining the prayers of the Rosary with core strengthening, stretching, and functional movement. SoulCore is about filling the mind and soul with the life and word of Christ. By meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary, specifically the virtues of each Mystery, women can be slowly transformed more fully into the image and likeness of the heart and mind of Jesus and Our Blessed Mother. Prayer is the main focus of SoulCore. The exercises are simply utilized to enhance the prayer experience. Anyone can perform this workout - modifications are easy! By uniting our body, mind, and soul in prayer, our prayers become more powerful.
How does SoulCore work?
A traditional SoulCore workout begins with basic exercises to warm up the body and recite the Apostle’s Creed. Each Mystery begins with a scripture verse and a reflection, offering a time of rest. We do push-ups through each of the Our Father prayers. Then, during the Hail Mary prayers, participants perform a variety of exercises for flexibility and strength. Finally, people offer a restful stretch position, called surrender, during the Glory Be prayer.
I encourage all of you to try SoulCore as a part of the Catholic Women Run Challenge! It is a beautiful prayer and exercise experience. I know that it has made a huge difference in my spiritual life, and has helped to increase my physical strength and flexibility. This program can be done in the comfort of your own home or in a live class.
Article by Rachel Weber, PT, DPT, CEEAA. Rachel Weber is a physical therapist and a SoulCore leader in West Virginia. She has been running for many years and is looking forward to participating in the Catholic Women Run Lenten Challenge.
Thanks to Rachel for giving us the rundown on this excellent exercise for Catholic women! For more information on purchasing DVDs, digital downloads, or attending a live class, please visit SoulCore's website. Or if you want to take a class from Rachel, check out the link to her class in Buckhannon here. And good news! Right now, there's a complimentary SoulCore Stations of the Cross digital download. Grab it here.
Don't forget that there are multiple opportunities to interact with other Catholic women who love (or have a love-hate relationship with) running! Check in on Instagram, like the Facebook page, and ask for prayers and/or for answers to your running questions over in the Facebook group. See you there!