However, good form in the upper-body also plays a significant role when it comes to moving efficiently as you run.
But while you’re pounding the pavement, make sure you practice these four posture-improving tips.
1. Relax your shoulders.
In other words, don’t hunch them up close to your ears. Instead, concentrate on standing up tall and drawing your shoulder blades back and down. This will help you keep your torso upright and allow for better engagement of your core muscles, which helps to protect the lower back and aid with keeping you balanced.
2. Don’t clench your hands.
Increased tension in any part of the body while you’re running will likely hinder your speed and efficiency, and this includes your hands. If you’re carrying any accessories, like your iPod or a water bottle, be conscious of your grip and focus on holding them lightly. If you’re hands are free, simply let your fingers rest lightly on your palms and open your fists up every now and then to stretch out your fingers. Let any tension you might have been holding float away and concentrate on your breath and maintaining a stress-free pace.
3. Mind your elbows.
Make sure your elbows are opened to about a 90-degree angle so that your forearms are parallel to the ground. This will help to keep your shoulder blades relaxed (see tip number one) and also prevent tension from building in the neck and shoulders. Also, focus on pumping your arms lightly back and forth and avoid swinging them across your body and twisting your torso—a common mistake many runners make. Concentrate on propelling your entire self forward in a straight line; the movement of your torso twisting side to side counteracts and inhibits your forward motion.
4. Keep your neck loose, too.
Just like the rest of your upper body, you want your neck to feel loose and relaxed. Relaxing your shoulders and arms will help to keep tension from building in your neck, but don’t forget to concentrate on holding your head high so that your gaze falls straight ahead. Avoid burrowing your chin into your chest.