When considering your running form — whether to improve your time, mileage or preventing injuries — an important element that is forgotten all too often is your posture. Admittedly, as runners we already have a million and one things to consider every time we hit the road (or trail) — where are my feet landing? Am I overstriding? How many more miles? What’s my pace? The list goes on. It can be a challenge to add in yet another form faux-pas to avoid, especially when we’re running long distances and battling fatigue.
But, before you go and write off good posture as a “nice to have”, here are some reasons why it’s worth the effort:
When you’re slumped over — regardless of whether you’re sitting, standing, walking, or running — your lungs don’t have as much room to expand to allow for deep breaths. This is especially a problem when you’re running because your body metabolises oxygen at a much higher rate when you’re taking part in heavy cardiovascular activities.
Running tall with your eyes forward, chin up, shoulders back, and core engaged will open up your chest and give you the opportunity to maximize your lung capacity. Increased airflow will help you fight off fatigue, improve your endurance, and power your strides.
2. Mood and Mental State
Your posture, believe it or not, has an impact on your mood and mental state. Research shows that good posture can increase energy, reduce stress and help productivity. The same logic applies to running too.
Similar to one of the tips we introduced in our earlier post, doing a quick posture reset while on your run realigns your posture and helps loosen out any built up tension in your shoulders and neck to refresh your mind and refocus on your run. This is especially helpful when you’re running long distances, because with longer mileage comes greater fatigue; and pretty soon, you’ll find yourself running slumped over which only reinforces your feeling of exhaustion. Take a second every mile or two to pull your shoulders back and readjust your running form.
3. Pelvic Tilt
Pelvic tilt is the anterior-posterior movement of your pelvis, and can be most effectively seen from the side of the runner. As humans, regardless of whether you are a runner or not, we are more prone to developing anterior pelvic tilt, or forward rotation of your hips. This is likely due to the excessive amount of time we spend sitting, often in poor posture, leading to weak abdominal muscles, inactive glute muscles, tight hip flexors, and general back pain and strain.
As runners, tight hip flexors and muscle deficits in the core and glutes screams risk of injury, and can inhibit our performance quite a bit. In addition to exercises like the bridge or TRX sprinters to strengthen these muscle groups, another approach to reducing pelvic tilt is to practice good, neutral posture outside of training to come out of our daily poor posture habits.
The funny thing about posture…
Poor posture is a tricky beast to beat. It’s typically a bad habit that develops over a long period of time, so it’s tough to beat with just chiropractic appointments or a temporary attempt to stand up tall — especially while you’re running. Rather, the best way to address bad posture, in or out of the office, is to practice mindfulness and build muscle memory to replace these bad habits with new, good ones.
Our wearable posture device, Lumo Lift, clips onto your shirt like a magnetic lapel pin and gently reminds you to sit up straighter whenever you begin to slouch. Unlike back braces that restrict movement and force good posture, the Lumo Lift teaches you the mindfulness you need to replace years of bad posture habits with good ones so that you can apply it to other situations like running.
Improve your running form with Lumo Run
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