Another common phenomenon? “Runners are so focused on their lower body, that they forget about their upper body,” Smith says. “You’re curled forward the entire time you’re running.”
And bad posture doesn’t only impact your Facebook photos—it could affect your race time, by messing up your range of motion and your breathing.
“Rounding of the upper back translates into a shortage of breath because the chest is really tight and constricted,” Smith explains. “You set your pace with your breath, and if it’s short, you’re not able to run efficiently.”
It’s time to uncurl with these three moves… —Lisa Elaine Held
Photos: Lisa Elaine Held for Well+Good
Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart and hold the strap with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders, keeping your arms straight. Reach your arms forward, up, and back behind you. Then bring them back up, over your head and down in front of you.
Continue the motion for 5–10 breaths, warming up the shoulder girdle and opening up the chest. Be sure to keep a straight spine—don’t push your chest forward or or round the back as you move your arms.
2. Floor Chest Opener
Lay flat on your stomach and extend your arms out to the sides in a T, palms flat against the floor. Bend your right arm at the elbow, creating a 90-degree angle. Slide your left hand in and place your palm directly under your left shoulder. Bend the knees and lift your feet. Then, slowly move your body onto your right side, pressing into your left palm and right hip. Stay here for one minute and then repeat on the opposite side.
3. Goddess Pose with Block
Lay on your back and place a block directly below your shoulder blades. If the block feels uncomfortable, try using a bolster or pillow instead. Press the soles of your feet together, letting your knees drop out to the sides and relax the arms onto the floor, palms facing up. Stay here, allowing your chest to open up, for 3–5 minutes.