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Earlier this year, I had a gait analysis done by a friend of mine. He found that my left foot’s reaction time was significantly slower than that of my right foot. I attributed this to a stress fracture I had sustained and had this analysis done just as I was getting back into running. Of course it could have been that the delayed reaction in the left side was the cause of the stress fracture. I will never know.
Also of note was my crazy arm swing. “You run like an 800-meter runner. You look like you are trying to keep people away from you.” Telling.
As I work more and more on the computer and cell phone and tablet and run more and more, my shoulders and deltoids are getting more and more compressed and tight. Of course my yoga is daily and I sear by it, but I always tend to skip stretching and opening my arms and shoulders. I tell my students that we all have the tendency to do the things we are good at and that we like. We shun those things that we really need.
To put my injury-conscious mind to rest, I went back to my friend for another gait analysis just this week. Foot strike from right to left looked even. He even told me I was a gazelle. I was thrilled. Then he showed me my arm swing. Uh-oh. Same crazy 800-meter-running-wicked-high-carried arms. “You’d be more efficient if you worked on that arm swing,” he told me.
That night, I went home and looked at exercises for correcting arm swings. I found a few that seemed beneficial and started adding them into my laundry list of supplemental exercises. Funny, but the very next day I started to notice a difference. I felt lighter and somehow more able to run easier. My arms and upper body didn’t seem as exhausted after a run. Hmmm…
I thought maybe some stretching would be good as well, so I used my Yamuna balls (I know it seems crazy, but these air-filled rubber balls are like magic) on my deltoids to loosen them up and then a strap to stretch my upper arms. (I will be posting some arms stretches with straps in another post, so stay tuned)
Tonight, just a few days after I began my concentrated arm stretching mission, I feel MUCH looser and more able in my arms, shoulders and upper back. And what I notice the most is how that carries into my hips and legs. Amazing! One of my massage therapists always told me, and I know this is true, “it’s all connected”.