Running Arms

On Friday, I performed a site evaluation at Cheat Lake Elementary School to ensure “participant safety and proper protocol/criteria for Girls on the Run of Monongalia County. I, along with other active board members, visited at least one site this month. It sounds super official, but it was really just a way for us to reconnect with the program. While observing the running portion of the practice, I noticed one of the coaches advising the girls not to use “washing machine arms”. She imitated the motion and then showed them the correct way to move their arms while they run. I was shocked to learn that I use washing machine arms!

After she finished speaking with the girls, I walked over and asked her to once again demonstrate the correct way to move my arms. She explained that the side-to-side motion requires more energy, which is not something you can afford to lose while running. She also said a good rule of thumb is to try the motion sitting down.

The video above shows the proper way to move your arms and stabilize your core. If you do “washing machine” style, you’ll bounce all around. This hand-to-ear motion, as seen above, is the best way to stabilize breathing and preserve energy during your run.

Sunday I put this theory to the test. While on my 4.5 mile run, I noted how I felt when I was running without thinking about form and then noted how I felt when I practiced hand-to-ear running. The difference was unreal! My breathing, which had always been my biggest downfall, had calmed to almost normal, and my shoulders didn’t get stiff. I felt my energy focus shift to my legs and I actually felt the forward propelling motion runners are always talking about. It was amazing how such a small adjustment could make such a huge difference!

My Healthy Tip of the Day: To better improve your breathing and overall energy while running, try to keep your hands at waist level, right about where they might lightly brush your hip. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle, with your elbows at your sides. You should rotate your arms at the shoulder (not at the elbow), so they’re swinging back and forth.

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