Navigation Links
Optimum running speed is stride toward understanding human body form
Date:3/19/2009

MADISON Runners, listen up: If your body is telling you that your pace feels a little too fast or a little too slow, it may be right.

A new study, published online March 18 in the Journal of Human Evolution, shows that the efficiency of human running varies with speed and that each individual has an optimal pace at which he or she can cover the greatest distance with the least effort.

The result debunks the long-standing view that running has the same metabolic cost per unit of time no matter the speed in other words, that the energy needed to run a given distance is the same whether sprinting or jogging. Though sprinting feels more demanding in the short term, the longer time and continued exertion required to cover a set distance at a slower pace were thought to balance out the difference in metabolic cost, says Karen Steudel, a zoology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

However, Steudel and Cara Wall-Scheffler of Seattle Pacific University have now shown that the energetic demands of running change at different speeds. "What that means is that there is an optimal speed that will get you there the cheapest," metabolically speaking, Steudel says.

Peak efficiency was determined by measuring runners' metabolic rates at a range of speeds enforced by a motorized treadmill. Metabolic energy costs increased at both fast and slow speeds and revealed an intermediate pace of maximal efficiency.

The most efficient running speed determined in the study varied between individuals but averaged about 8.3 miles per hour for males and 6.5 miles per hour for females in a group of nine experienced amateur runners. Much of the gender difference may be due to variations in body size and leg length, which have been shown to affect running mechanics, Steudel says. In general, the larger and taller runners had faster optimum speeds.

Interestingly, the slowest speeds around 4.5 miles per hour, or about a 13-minute mile were the least metabolically efficient, which Steudel attributes to the gait transition between walking and running. For example, she points out, both a very fast walk and a very slow run can feel physically awkward.

While holding great interest for athletes and trainers, the mechanics of running may also hold clues to the evolution of the modern human body form: tall and long-limbed with broad chests and defined waists.

Modern humans are very efficient walkers and fairly good runners, Steudel says, and efficient locomotion probably provided our ancestors with an advantage for hunting and gathering food. Distant ancestral forms, the australopithecines, had shorter, boxier frames with stubbier legs.

"They wouldn't have had noticeable waists their torso looked more like the torso of an ape, except they were walking on two legs," Steudel says. "With the genus Homo, you start getting taller individuals, larger individuals, and they started developing a more linear body form" with distinct waists that pivot easily, allowing longer and more efficient strides.

Human walking is also known to have an optimally efficient speed, so the new findings may help researchers determine the relative importance of the different gaits in driving human evolution, Steudel says. "This is a piece in the question of whether walking or running was more important in the evolution of the body form of the genus Homo."


'/>"/>

Contact: Karen Steudel
ksteudel@facstaff.wisc.edu
608-263-5079
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Building strong bones: Running may provide more benefits than resistance training, MU study finds
2. Time running out on coral reefs as climate change becomes increasing threat
3. ORNL supercomputer simulation wins prize for fastest-running science application
4. Running on rocket fuel
5. Mouse study: When it comes to living longer, its better to go hungry than go running
6. New MegaMatcher Accelerator Boosts Speed for High-Volume Biometric Identification and Database Duplicate Searching
7. Duke software dramatically speeds enzyme design
8. The more promiscuous the female, the speedier the sperm
9. As super-predators, humans reshape their prey at super-natural speeds
10. Flowering plants speed post-surgery recovery
11. Common food additive found to increase risk and speed spread of lung cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April 28, ... Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ... announced a global partnership that will provide end ... use mobile banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... key innovation area for financial services, but it also plays ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 2016  A new partnership announced today will ... decisions in a fraction of the time it ... high-value life insurance policies to consumers without requiring ... Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) ... pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) available ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has completed ... Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned to the ... original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, ... Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of Software and ... company. Dr. Bready served as CEO of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... on a range of subjects including policies, debt and investment ... Speaking at a lecture to the Canadian Economics ... the country,s inflation target, which is set by both the ... "In certain areas there needs to be frequent ... not sit down and address strategy together?" He ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... find the most commonly-identified miRNAs in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings ... here to read it now. , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , an ... designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that ... Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and ... cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is ... inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston Methodist ... the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as their ... agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, ... connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. ... the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring Houston ...
Breaking Biology Technology: