What To Do With Your Arms When You Run

July 30, 2014 7:56 am 3 comments

OK, good, you’re running, because you read on SportsGeezer that running just ten minutes a day can add three years to your life. You’ve got the foot part down, but what to do with those arms? Fortunately, Gretchen Reynolds reports in the New York Timesarm_swing on researchers’ efforts to find the perfect arm swing while running. Reynolds reports that researchers at the University of Colorado tracked the efficiency (by measuring oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output) of runners using different types of arm swings.  Some runners were directed to hold their arms behind their backs, others crossed them over their chests, some swung arms wildly. What did they find? In most cases, runners ran most efficiently when they swung their arms in the way that felt most natural, which is to say, the way they usually swung them. Those runners whose arm swings were restricted failed to exploit the counterbalancing effect that arms swings have on pendulum-like leg motion. So the answer to the question: “What to do with those arms?” is “Do what you’ve always done. Swing them in a way that feels natural.”

3 Comments

  • Wow! Let your arms swing naturally.
    Who woudda thunk it?

  • Chuck Wilde

    This study is somewhat interesting if you want precise quantification of the obvious. Much more interesting is the subject of cross arm swing from side to side, the optimal degree of arm swing forward and back, the angle at which the humerus and the radius/ulna are held, and the tenseness of the hand/arm combination, i.e. fist balled, relaxed, etc. Although there is no doubt a lot of variation among individuals in these characteristics, these seem much more pertinent to running mechanics and confort, particularly over longer distances. These are characteristics that can be modified over time to improve running efficiency.

  • Yeah, I could do that research. But if one watches casual runners, “do what comes naturally” cannot always be the most efficient way to swing the arms.

Leave a Reply


Recent Posts

  • Eating Well Pain Chronic Fatigue: It’s In Your Gut

    Chronic Fatigue: It’s In Your Gut

    After years of doubt about whether the condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome is really a syndrome, researchers have identified biological markers of the disease in gut bacteria and inflammatory microbial agents in the blood of chronic fatigue sufferers. A Cornell University news release reports that researchers at the school correctly diagnosed chronic fatigue syndrome in 83 percent of patients through stool samples and blood work. When researchers sequenced regions of microbial DNA from the stool samples they found that […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Pain Stressed? Make Some Art

    Stressed? Make Some Art

    Feeling stressed? Paint a picture, even a bad picture. Researchers at Drexel University are convinced that making art, pretty much any art, reduces the stress hormones in our bodies. Most of the time.  A Drexel news release reports that the researchers studied 39 adults, ranging from 18 to 59 years old, who participated in 45 minutes of art-making. Cortisol levels were taken before and after the art-making period. The participants, half of whom had no real experience making art, were given markers […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Pain How You Argue And What It Means For Your Health

    How You Argue And What It Means For Your Health

    How you argue says a lot about how your health will fare, according to research recently conducted at UC Berkeley. A Berkeley news release warns that people who rage with frustration during a marital spat are likely to develop high blood pressure, and those who keep a stiff upper lip may experience musculoskeletal ailments such as a bad back or stiff muscles. The study, based on 20 years of research, found that the link between emotions and health outcomes was most […]

    Read more →
  • Pain What Those Crackly Knee Sounds Really Mean

    What Those Crackly Knee Sounds Really Mean

    What do those crackly noises made by your knees really mean? Researchers at Georgia Tech who have devised a way to record the sounds of healthy and unhealthy knees have this answer: it depends. First, they say, all knees make crackly sounds, even if you can’t hear them. Healthy knees produce a consistent pattern of sounds, while damaged knees are more erratic noisemakers. So far, the researchers aren’t diagnosing specific problems with sound, but they can use their tools to […]

    Read more →
  • Pain Uncategorized How To Stay (Relatively) Safe From Ticks

    How To Stay (Relatively) Safe From Ticks

    From Stephen Wikel, professor emeritus of medical sciences at Quinnipiac University’s Frank H. Netter M.D. School of Medicine, comes this advice, via HealthDay, about how to stay safe from ticks: Protect your ankles. Wear long pants tucked into high socks when doing yard work. Wrap duct tape — sticky-side out — around where the pants and socks meet so that crawling ticks get stuck on the tape. Dress properly. Use clothing, tents and other gear treated with repellent, such as permethrin. […]

    Read more →
  • Eating Well Pain Dinner By Candlelight May Keep You Thin

    Dinner By Candlelight May Keep You Thin

    It could be true: researchers at Northwestern University have learned that insulin was unable to quickly bring glucose levels back to a normal level following a meal with bright light exposure in the evening. Yes, that does matter, because the body’s inability to adequately move glucose out of the bloodstream, can, over time, help put the pounds on. A Northwestern new release reports that previous research by Northwestern scientists showed that people who received the majority of their bright light in […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain Exercise May Reduce Risk Of 13 Cancers

    Exercise May Reduce Risk Of 13 Cancers

    And now, thirteen ways of looking at exercise: Researchers at the University of North Carolina’s school of public health are convinced that working out just a couple of times a week can cut the risk of 13 types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, lung, as well as leukemia, myeloma and cancers of the esophagus, liver, kidney, stomach, endometrium, rectum, bladder, and head and neck. Yikes!  Science Daily reports on the research, which looked at 1.4 million people, and […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Gear Barefoot Running Is Good For Your Brain

    Barefoot Running Is Good For Your Brain

    Barefoot running, all the rage a few years ago, may boost more than cardio fitness. A new study by researchers at the University of North Florida suggests that it can also boost your memory. Men’s Fitness reports on the research, for which 72 participants between 18 and 44 were recruited to run either barefoot or with running shoes at a comfortable,  pace for roughly 16 minutes on a track. In order to simulate the way barefoot runners aim their feet to […]

    Read more →