Increasingly, people are looking for way to improve their running form so that they don’t get shin splints or other injuries. Here are tips that can help.

In an era focused on minimalism and preventive healthcare, it is not a surprise to see a running form emerged called Chi Running – fusing yoga, tai chi, and running form. Chi Running is of course just one trend. People are generally interested in avoiding running injury; increasingly, they are realizing that common conditions such as shin splints and runner’s knee can be avoided by simply tweaking form. Better form can also improve speed, which certainly doesn’t hurt.

The way your body moves when you run is based in part on how strong and supple particular muscles are and your body’s dimensions. These six tips can help you keep your form strong no matter where you run:

Tip 1 – Keep your stride short.

Sometimes people wrongly think that they want to lengthen their stride. That actually often leads to a running injury. Keep it quick and short.

Tip 2 – Properly align your foot with your knee.

You want your foot to hit the ground beneath your knee to avoid runner’s knee or other damage, explains Jennifer Van Allen of Runner’s World. “It doesn’t matter whether the heel or forefoot hits the ground first, as long as your foot is not in front of your knee,” she says. “This is especially important when running downhill.”

Tip 3 – Don’t drag.

Make sure that you are pushing up and off the earth as you run.

Tip 4 – Check your arms.

You always want your elbows to be forming an angle that is no more than 90 degrees.

Tip 5 – Keep your fingers and hands loose.

Don’t run with fists, basically. You want your hands to be relaxed and positioned lower than your chest. You don’t want your hands to move past your midline, and they also shouldn’t punch out. Be aware of this especially if you are holding something, such as a dog leash, in which case you want to switch the hand that’s holding it midway through.

Tip 6 – Strengthen your core.

When you begin running or start to improve your form, it’s wise to also work on the abdominal muscles and glutes. That makes it more possible for you to maintain an upright posture.

Running stats and expert help

Injury is incredibly common among runners in the United States. “Reports of average injury rates today vary widely between 19.4% and 92.4% per year,” notes Condensed Science, “but the mode rate is around 50% per year.” In other words, form can help, but injury unfortunately remains very common in this popular sport.

Have you suffered a running injury? At Atlanta Medical Clinic, we offer a wide range of treatments, such as physical therapy. Our physical therapists work with you to heal using non-invasive, injury-specific rehabilitative exercises – a program designed just for you. Learn more.