ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
[personal profile] ladyofastolat
Okay. Here is something entirely trivial which started bothering me when I was walking the other day.

When I walk briskly, my arms naturally want to swing along as I walk. The arms want to be more or less straight as they swing, only bending slightly when they come to the front point of their swing. Since then, I have watched loads of people walking briskly, and everyone who swings their arms - not everyone does - does it this way.

When I run, even a slow jog, my arms naturally want to swing with a 90 degree bend at the elbow. The instant I go from a walk to a run, those elbows bend, with no conscious thought involved on my part.

I have tried holding my arms bent when walking, and it feels very silly, and also involves more muscular effort.

I have tried swinging my arms straight when jogging, and it feels very silly and awkward and seems to make running harder.

The actual speed difference between a brisk walk (4mph) and a jog (under 6mph) is not that great. Why do my arms want to do such different things?

Date: 2017-02-17 02:47 pm (UTC)
ext_24338: (Sunshine)
From: [identity profile] leesa-perrie.livejournal.com
I have never noticed it, but now that you mention it, yes, why?!

Date: 2017-02-17 05:14 pm (UTC)
ext_12726: Me at the computer (afternoon tea)
From: [identity profile] heleninwales.livejournal.com
I've never thought about that before, but you're right. Except... Don't those speed walkers (the ones who race) bend their arms at the elbow? It that even a thing these days now everyone runs marathons? OK... a quick google confirms that it is still a sport and they do bend their arms at the elbow.

Date: 2017-02-18 07:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] puddleshark.livejournal.com
Economy of effort? At a walk the the arms swing effortlessly so you may as well let them get on with it, but once you pick up speed the swinging would become wilder, so it's easier to tuck them in?

Date: 2017-02-18 09:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mific.livejournal.com
Seems like it's both about speed and centre of gravity? Speed walkers bend their arms and lean forward more, and running's like a controlled fall where your centre of gravity's even further forward and only your legs churning away keep you from falling on your nose. A straight arm swing would throw off the forward centre of gravity too much, I think.

Date: 2017-02-19 11:41 am (UTC)
ext_8151: (confuse)
From: [identity profile] ylla.livejournal.com
You can find plenty of scientific explanations by googling, but once they start talking about torque I'm lost!

Essentially, though, if I'm understanding it, swinging your arms helps to counterbalance the twist that you get by pushing off one foot then the other (and if you consciously don't swing them, your spine has to do a lot of twisting to make up for it), but because it's easier to swing a short pendulum quickly than a long one, when running it makes things easier if you're only swinging the length to your elbow. I think.

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