Q: "After a hard run, I bend over to catch my breath. But should I stand tall and put my hands on my head instead?"
Anonymous, via email
A: Exercise physiologist Michael Hennessy writes:
“Standing tall is a better way to breathe, as the rib cage, diaphragm and lungs are not compressed, as they would be if you’re bent over. Placing your hands on your head will help slightly, as you lift some of the weight of the upper body muscles off the rib cage. When running, don’t end your workout at a fast pace – this isn’t the best for your muscles (or your recovery). Tackle the steepest terrain, or do the fastest elements of your training, in the middle of your run when you’re warm and not overly fatigued. Use the last five minutes to cool down, gradually reducing the speed or intensity, and you should finish feeling like you’ve trained hard, but not doubled over or short of breath.”