The Dangerous Habit of Holding Something While Running

We all have our hands full in our everyday lives.

Whether it's work, school, household chores or anything else on your plate, it can be tough to find time to run. When you do get a chance, however, don't replicate your daily life. Don't run with your hands full.

It may not seem like a big deal, but holding your phone, iPod, keys or water bottle while running is a dangerous habit that can lead to poor running form and higher risk of injury.

"I address it every week with my runners," says Mike Hamberger, a Washington D.C.-based running coach. "When we hold something in our hands, there are cumulative effects that can affect your body down the road."

More: Strength and Mobility Exercises to Improve Running Form

Poor Running Form

Running with something in your hand causes you to use body parts differently than you normally would.

Proper running form starts with muscle equilibrium and even distribution of weight across your body. Holding something creates asymmetry, as you use your hand and arm differently compared to when you're running hands-free.

These asymmetrical effects lead to poor form and muscular imbalance, which make you a less efficient runner.

"In our minds it sounds very trivial, but if you run with something in your hand three days a week for 30 to 60 minutes, month after month, eventually your form will be affected," Hamberger says.

More: Improve Arm Carriage for Faster Running

Injury Risks

If you're guilty of the hands-full habit, you may not notice anything initially. Over time, however, issues can arise if you're running on a regular basis.

You will start to move one arm differently than the other. This leads to one leg moving differently, affecting your stride and causing you to fatigue faster. These adjustments to your form add unnecessary stress to various muscle groups.

More: 3 Simple Injury Prevention Tips for Time-Strapped Runners

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About the Author

Hunter Hewitt

Hunter Hewitt is an online content editor for Active.com. As a former collegiate athlete, Hunter has always been passionate about living an active, healthy lifestyle. He enjoys running, basketball, ultimate frisbee and many other outdoor sports and activities. Follow Hunter on Twitter @HunterHewitt

Hunter Hewitt is an online content editor for Active.com. As a former collegiate athlete, Hunter has always been passionate about living an active, healthy lifestyle. He enjoys running, basketball, ultimate frisbee and many other outdoor sports and activities. Follow Hunter on Twitter @HunterHewitt

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