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

  • Pain Women's Health Common Drugs Linked to Dementia

    Common Drugs Linked to Dementia

    No, not marijuana. The researchers at the University of Washington were looking at drugs like Benadryl, anti-depressants like Sinequan, anti-histamines like Chlor-Trimeton, and antimuscarinics for bladder control like Ditropan.  A university news release reports that the scientists, who tracked nearly 3,500 Group Health seniors participating in a long-running joint Group Health-UW study funded by the National Institute on Aging, found that such drugs, with anticholinergic effects, significantly increased risk for developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, in people who took them for longer […]

    Read more →
  • Pain Uncategorized Women's Health Research Suggests That Exercise Cuts Breast Cancer Risk

    Research Suggests That Exercise Cuts Breast Cancer Risk

    Can exercise really help to ward off breast cancer? Researchers at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque think so. The Wall Street Journal, reports that scientists at the school have been studying the cancer fighting effects of irisin, a hormone that is released from muscles after vigorous exercise. When the researchers tested genetically engineered irisin on aggressive breast-cancer cells and on nonmalignant breast cells, they found that irisin treatment reduced the number of malignant cells by 34 percent compared with untreated cells, […]

    Read more →
  • Eating Well Fitness Gear The Beet Juice Conundrum: Does It Boost Blood Flow?

    The Beet Juice Conundrum: Does It Boost Blood Flow?

    For years, athletes have been drinking beet juice before working out to increase blood flow to muscles and boost performance. Now comes a study from researchers at Penn State suggesting that the beet juice strategy was all for naught. A Penn State news release reports that while beetroot juice is in fact rich in nitrates, it did not enhance muscle blood flow or vascular dilation during exercise. The good news, although not necessarily for athletes, is that the researchers found that […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Gear Sitting Is The New Smoking

    Sitting Is The New Smoking

    Yes, it’s yet another study on the health risks of too much sitting, which is now described, in some circles, as the new smoking. This study, a meta-analysis of others, comes from scientists at Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN) and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, and like others, identifies a definite relationship between the amount of time a person sits everyday and heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and death. Wait, there’s more unsurprising news.  Science Daily reports that study found that the […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Fitness Gear Get Up. Stand Up. Stand Up For Your Health

    Get Up. Stand Up. Stand Up For Your Health

    If sitting is the new smoking, is standing the healthful alternative? The Boston Globe reports that many experts think it is. The Globe cites a recent Harvard study of more than 92,000 women that found that the more time participants spent sitting at work, driving, or watching TV, the greater their risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, or strokes. Wait, there’s more, such as a Canadian study involving 17,000 people that found that those who reported the most time […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Fitness Pain Want To Build Muscle? Think About It

    Want To Build Muscle? Think About It

    Can just thinking about building muscle actually build muscle? Researchers at Ohio University’s Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute think so. HealthDay reports that scientists at the institute put 29 people in casts that completely immobilized their hand and wrist for four weeks. Fourteen of those people were told to routinely perform an imagery exercise, imagining that they were intensely contracting their wrist for five seconds with five seconds of rest. Wait, there’s more: As they performed this imagery exercise, they were […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain Staying Warm Really Can Ward Off A Cold

    Staying Warm Really Can Ward Off A Cold

    Some wives’ tales turn out to be true. Maybe. A Yale University news release reports that researchers at the school are convinced that the common cold virus can reproduce itself more efficiently in the cooler temperature found inside the nose than at core body temperature, suggesting that there is truth to the popular notion that people are more likely to catch a cold in cool-weather conditions. The researchers examined cells taken from the airways of mice, and compared the immune response to […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Pain The Most Common Cause Of Cancer: Bad Luck

    The Most Common Cause Of Cancer: Bad Luck

    Are you worried that what you eat, where you live, or your own genes might increase your chances of getting cancer? Well, those factors might contribute to cancer, but according to a recent study at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, the most likely culprit is bad luck. A Johns Hopkins news release reports that scientists at the center created a statistical model that measures the proportion of cancer incidence, across many tissue types, caused by random mutations that occur when […]

    Read more →