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Why you shouldn't hold your phone while running

If you’re someone who likes to clutch their phone while out for a jog, stop it.

We understand it’s tempting to hold your phone when running. It’s a comfort blanket, and it feels easier to keep it in your hand to skip through all those poorly-chosen tracks on your workout playlist rather than having to pull it out of a pocket each time.

Or maybe you don’t have pockets in your running gear (a curse many of us live with) and can’t be bothered to get one of those jazzy phone armbands.

The decision to just clutch your phone makes sense, but it is in fact a bad idea.

Why? It’s not just because you’re playing with the risk of dropping your phone and smashing its screen (although that’s a real concern). A running expert has warned that this particular habit may be leading to an epidemic of hip and shoulder injuries.

UK Athletics running coach Alexa Duckworth-Briggs says: ‘It might seem trivial, but holding your phone while running could be setting you up for future injuries.

‘When you hold something in our hands, there are subtle knock-on effects to your gait.

‘It creates muscular imbalances, affects the distribution of weight across your body, and makes you a less efficient runner in general.

‘This could be happening every time you train, week after week, month after month.

‘And all of this means you’re more susceptible to strains, particularly in your legs, hips and across your shoulders.’

When you hold your phone, you’re adding a little bit of weight to one side of your body, and keeping your hand an arm in an unnatural position.

That can lead to you adjusting your weight in a damaging way, leaning, and injuring yourself as a result.

An armband isn’t the answer, though. You’re much better off with a special waist belt, so your phone is in the middle of your body rather than weighing down one side.

Alexa, who’s also a coach with the We Run online support group, says that as mobile phones have grown bigger and heavier, the more injuries she’s seen.

She explains: ‘People tend to always hold their phone in the same hand. It’s a force of habit.

The issue here is in the repetition of movement, with your arms swinging thousands of times during a 30 minute run.

‘By making one arm heavier, you’re altering the momentum of your limbs. And your body will attempt to compensate for the imbalance by working certain muscles harder than others.

‘That’s where repetitive strain injuries will come into play.

‘I’d expect problems to manifest in the side of the body opposite to where you’re holding your phone.

‘Your arm and opposite leg go backwards and forwards in unison. So if you hold your phone in your right hand, you’re most likely to have issues with your left leg and hip.

‘I tend to pop my phone in a zip-tight freezer bag and put it in the waistband of my leggings,” she says.

‘But you can buy elastic belts that fit tightly around your waist or hips.

‘There are some mobile phone carriers that strap around your arms but, again, I’d say they’d still leave you unbalanced. You’re better off holding that weight centrally to your body.’

Going for a belt or using that little pocket at the back of your leggings will prevent phone-induced injuries – and, of course, protect you from dropping your phone while you jog. Your sweaty hands paired with the motion of your jog make it all too easy for your phone to slip directly into a muddy puddle.

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