How to Run Properly
It’s no secret that regular exercise can help us maintain a healthy weight and keep our bodies in peak condition. Running is one of the most popular types of physical activities and an important part of many sports.
But, even though it’s a natural motion that can help you lose weight and stay in good shape, you should also take the time to ensure that you have a proper running form so you are able to start running with ease.
In this article, we at Orthopedic Physician Associates will go over the importance of having a good running technique, tell you about the different parts that affect this motion and give you some tips to help you develop a better stride.
Why Should You Develop a Good Running Technique?
Before going over the tips on how to run properly, it’s important to understand the reason for developing a good stride. Your running technique directly affects the amount of effort or energy your body uses with each step. By ensuring that you have the correct running form, you can minimize the amount of energy needed to propel your body forward.
In addition to the above, having a good running form also engages your whole body, so you work out more than just your glutes and lower extremities. Additionally, runners that have a proper form can also keep their breathing steady for longer and minimize the chances of developing running-related physical problems in the future.
How to Achieve a Proper Running Form
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of proper running technique, it’s time to go over a few pointers that help you develop a better stride.
Our tips on how to run properly can be divided into three categories, which are posture, core and arm movements, and intensity.
The first thing you have to look at when jogging is your posture. Just like walking and sitting down, your running position will affect the amount of energy you use. This can also influence your joint and muscle health. If you don’t have the right posture, you may develop joint pains and related issues later on.
Instead, you can correct your running posture by:
Standing Upright and Look Ahead
When you run, your back should be straight and your eyes looking forward. If you look down, it probably means you are slouching and reducing your running efficiency. Instead of only moving your eyes, remember to keep your chin up and parallel to the floor at all times.
Keeping Shoulders Back
Your shoulders provide stability and allow you to swing your arms when running. By keeping shoulders back and relaxed, you can help loosen up your muscles and relieve tension. Tense muscles mean limited blood flow, so keep them loose and imagine you’re trying to hold up a baseball between your shoulder blades to maintain the right position.
Swinging Arms with Every Step
As for your arms, they should be resting on your sides at a 90° angle somewhere between your chest and hips. Remember, everyone’s natural running motion is slightly different, but keeping your arms it this level will allow you to swing them freely and increase inertia when you’re running.
Core and Leg Movement
Like with different types of exercise, a large portion of the strength you use to run comes from your core. The core, which includes abdominal, pelvic floor, and oblique muscles, provides balance and helps prevent injuries by controlling functional movements. Not only this, but these muscles also affect elements like posture and arm positioning, so having a strong torso will make your runs much easier.
Stride and Foot Motion
No list of running tips is complete without covering your stride and foot motion. Your stride will be defined by your height and the length of your legs, but you should never feel like you’re stretching or shortening your steps.
At the same time, you need to ensure that you are landing on the bulb of your feet. Hitting the ground with your heels or toes may both produce long-term health complications. Instead, try to avoid this by landing midfoot and pushing yourself off the ground in one quick motion.
Knees and Feet Aligned
The bottom of your feet is the part that pushes you off the ground. When you run, the bottom of your feet should be aligned perfectly with your knee when your foot strikes the ground. This will help improve efficiency and prevent injury by rolling your ankle or suffering something similar.
You’ll also want to avoid lifting your knee too high or shuffling your feet. Instead, try to find a balance that allows you to move each foot without dragging or making your steps too long.
Intensity and Pace
One of the most important parts of developing a good running technique is learning to identify the best pace. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to:
Start at a Steady Pace to Warm Up
You can start by walking briskly or even breaking out into a light jog. This will help guarantee that your muscles are warm, loose, and ready for a more intense workout.
After a few minutes of warming up, you can switch gears and raise the intensity. Keep your eyes on the road to minimize the chances of slipping or tripping. If you’re on a treadmill, this is the right time to bump up the speed setting.
Take the Time to Cool Down
A lot of runners go from full throttle to a halt in seconds, which can affect the way your muscles recover. To aid your recovery, cool down by walking around for a few minutes. Stretching is also a great idea, just make sure you develop a cooling routine to keep joints and muscles in peak condition.
Developing the Best Running Technique to Ensure Good Health
Although it may not be obvious to everyone, having the right running technique can help prevent injuries and achieve your goals faster. The tips above should give you a good idea of the different elements that affect your technique and help you develop a correct running form.
If you want to learn more about our orthopedic practice, schedule an appointment with us today and our team of healthcare specialists will be glad to help.