Human Running Speeds of 35 to 40 Mph May Be Biologically Possible


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petrossa

I think the main issue people have with your argument is that sprinters aren't doing so all the time. Most of the time they're about as active as other people.

They might run a few times a week, but it's not continuous. Certainly athletes have issues with wear and tear, but I don't expect it would suddenly become widely catastrophic once we reach some arbitrary point. 50 years ago you might have thought Bolt-like speeds would have surpassed this point, but evidently he has not.

Well first of all we are talking here about top athletes, those we could possibly run at high speeds. We are not talking about amateur or leisure activities.

To be a top athlete you have to exercise. A lot. You can't just live a normal life and then get up sunday morning and sprint at 40 mph. So the wear and tear is constant.

Then you have to question of autoselection. That is, those who become top athletes are already of the right genetic mix to be top athletes. So they are already at peak performance beyond average.

Nowadays a top sprinter runs at less then 10 secs for the 100m. ?That's the rare top athletes. So at 1 sec a meter they run at 60 km's an hour. At the age of about 30 that's over. Their body can't make it any more.

Here they are talking to adding some 20 km's an hour to that speed. That's 30% more.

Let's be real here.

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petrossa

'living faster' doesnt mean dying faster... dont you know that exercise makes you healthy, and health means a long life?

No i don't actually. Stronger still there's no scientific proof that it really makes a difference to health except in the negative.

I had this discussion already, i'm not going to rehash it. If you want to see it look at this thread http://www.neowin.net/forum/blog/316/entry-3088-the-disease-fat-does-not-exist/page___gocomments__1__st__20

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kronckew

it's not only peak speed, but endurance. over a short (100yds) distance a cheetah can run faster than anything else, but will cook itself in it's own body heat if it goes much further. my greyhounds can hit well over 40mph peak and can average 38+ over 600 yards. a greyhound beat a thoroughbred horse at two furlongs, but at much further the horse would have won. a camel would have won if the distances got even further. and guess who wins and is able to outrun anything else? a human. some hunters of southern africa frequently run gazelle and other game down over vast distances until the game is so exhausted they can kill it at leisure, if it hasn't died from exhaustion already. we are designed for that long distance, not for the shorter.

...and i recall one of the well known jogging fitness gurus a number of years back that died of a heart attack.

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petrossa

and guess who wins and is able to outrun anything else? a human. some hunters of southern africa frequently run gazelle and other game down over vast distances until the game is so exhausted they can kill it at leisure, if it hasn't died from exhaustion already. we are designed for that long distance, not for the shorter.

That's done by smart tactic not outrunning.

'The hunter chases the animal, which then runs away out of sight. By tracking it down at a fast running pace the hunter catches up with it before it has had enough time to rest in the shade. The animal is repeatedly chased and tracked down until it is too exhausted to continue running. The hunter then kills it at close range with a spear.'

The human spine isn't build for running at all. Yes, if you just figure to live 20 years as the early hominids did. Wearing out your spinal disks wasn't much of an issue.

Just look at the center of mass of a human ( around the bellybutton) and look at the skeleton. You see immediately that the lower lumbar region gets smashed at each and every step. Due to the curve of the spine the forces bend it inwards pushing together the disks at the back and opening them at the front. This cushions the blow but at the cost of wearing down the disks.

So, a human can run. For long distances. But if you still want to be able to move your back without excruciating pain by the time you're 70 you can either count on being one of the chosen few with good genes or not run to much.

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lamminium

Simple logic. In order to generate the necessary momentum to produce such speeds the loadstress in all articulations increases exponentially. The increased momentum will transfer to the ground via the legs, the back takes a increased weight impact. Since the spine in it's design is not yet fully evolved for proper bipedal motion (it's basically just quadriped spine moving on two legs) it'll suffer the loads badly.

As increased wear and tear speed up the celldivision your reserves of telomeres run out quickly resulted in speeded degeneration.

In other words: you can run your car at full speed all the time, but the changes you'll end up in the repairshop are higher than if you just keep it at it's cruising speed.

Got any numbers to demonstrate this?

Also, we're talking about athletes whose biology is significantly better than an average joe's here.

The article points specifically to increased contractile speed which gives rise to increased tetanus (net force). When the contractile speed increases, contraction time decreases so in a given period of time, the net force increases. This doesn't mean that the fibres contract more forcefully (because of the sarcomere architecture which limits how much it can shorten) but they can contract faster (as in the time between contractions is shorter). When you said momentum increased, did you mean momentum of the fibres or the spinal cord, etc?

Now, since the force in a given interval does increase, it does imply more stress on the joints within that interval but the assumption that disc herniation results must be substantiated by at least a numerical demonstration using the average biological values. For a herniation to occur, the superior and inferior vertebrae have to compress the disc anteriorly (meaning that the back has to bend excessively). For an athlete runner, I don't see that happening. The joints are designed to resist traction and compression so the force transduced from the sarcomeres will first be absorbed by the tissues at these joints, then should the remaining force reach the spine, the intervertebral discs will absorb them. So while I'm not saying you're wrong (because honestly, I don't know) but from my reasoning, I really require a more solid presentation of your claim.

Cheers.

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petrossa

Got any numbers to demonstrate this?

Cheers.

?Results 1 - 10 of about 24,400,000 for lower back pain. (0.59 seconds)?

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psionicinversion

I guess it could be true becuase if you look at how animals run, there feet stay on the ground longer allowing the legs more time to generate the force needed to run quicker. Even the 2 legged animals are pretty quick. I think its the way we run cus when we are reaching our top speed we become more or less vertical and stops our legs pushing so much cus the thighs cant go behind us.

If we try running top speed but leaning forward so theres more ground contact and legs can generate more force we become unbalanced and you can feel the pressure on your back a hell of alot more as your trying to keep yourself from falling over. Comes to the conclusion we arent properly eveolved to run quicker yet.

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petrossa

And we are not going to evolve further either. Actually we are going to 'devolve' since we've invented machines to do the hard work. The natural selection process that drives the evolution has been completely eradicated for humans. ?And domesticated animals as well.

If anything we'll turn into elongated badly balanced forms. The average length in developed countries keeps on climbing. Whilst that also gives you longer legs, it also increases the overall mass.

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psionicinversion

But you need machines to do stuff though its not like were gonna develop the ability to travel through space by holding our breath for long periods of time is it or to build a skyscraper by picking up 20 ton blocks of brick and climbing to the top. Well just evolve along a different path to how we have evolved upto now thats all.

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petrossa

No but one thing is absolutely sure, we are not going to evolve into fast runners without help from genetic engineering. And that is likely to raise some ethical issues.

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lamminium

Results 1 - 10 of about 24,400,000 for lower back pain. (0.59 seconds)

mhm?

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lamminium

First thing first, back pain can have many origins. An obvious cause is muscle pain.

The figure says one important thing about disc herniation: the incidence increases with age. This shows that as you age, the annulus fibrosis is weakened plus the fact that the nucleus pulposus is more posterior at the lumbar region together raising the number of hernia cases. What this tells us is that it is even less likely for young people to suffer from this condition.

So for a young athlete, your conclusion of disc herniation isn't very sound.

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petrossa

First thing first, back pain can have many origins. An obvious cause is muscle pain.

The figure says one important thing about disc herniation: the incidence increases with age. This shows that as you age, the annulus fibrosis is weakened plus the fact that the nucleus pulposus is more posterior at the lumbar region together raising the number of hernia cases. What this tells us is that it is even less likely for young people to suffer from this condition.

So for a young athlete, your conclusion of disc herniation isn't very sound.

I never claimed he'd have it at that instant. I clearly stated that in later age you'd suffer more. I tried to make the point that in overexerting the body you'd suffer the consequences sooner and graver. Not that you run once and crash a disk.

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lamminium

I never claimed he'd have it at that instant. I clearly stated that in later age you'd suffer more. I tried to make the point that in overexerting the body you'd suffer the consequences sooner and graver. Not that you run once and crash a disk.

Well, your post wasn't clear.

Also, though, I still can't see how running results in disc herniation at old age. When people age, they don't exercise as intensely.

The most well known incidence of hernia occurs in collision sports (rugby, hockey, etc.).

For an average person, it's fairly easy to have hernia, e.g. bend down to lift a heavy object. Doesn't take running to get it.

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petrossa

Well, your post wasn't clear.

Also, though, I still can't see how running results in disc herniation at old age. When people age, they don't exercise as intensely.

The most well known incidence of hernia occurs in collision sports (rugby, hockey, etc.).

For an average person, it's fairly easy to have hernia, e.g. bend down to lift a heavy object. Doesn't take running to get it.

I stick by my observation base don facts:

The human spine isn't build for running at all. Yes, if you just figure to live 20 years as the early hominids did. Wearing out your spinal disks wasn't much of an issue.

Just look at the center of mass of a human ( around the bellybutton) and look at the skeleton. You see immediately that the lower lumbar region gets smashed at each and every step. Due to the curve of the spine the forces bend it inwards pushing together the disks at the back and opening them at the front. This cushions the blow but at the cost of wearing down the disks.

So, a human can run. For long distances. But if you still want to be able to move your back without excruciating pain by the time you're 70 you can either count on being one of the chosen few with good genes or not run to much.

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Pulgafree

I'll believe someone can run 40 miles per hour when I see it.

I guess you don't believe in God.

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lamminium

I stick by my observation base don facts:

The human spine isn't build for running at all. Yes, if you just figure to live 20 years as the early hominids did. Wearing out your spinal disks wasn't much of an issue.

Just look at the center of mass of a human ( around the bellybutton) and look at the skeleton. You see immediately that the lower lumbar region gets smashed at each and every step. Due to the curve of the spine the forces bend it inwards pushing together the disks at the back and opening them at the front. This cushions the blow but at the cost of wearing down the disks.

So, a human can run. For long distances. But if you still want to be able to move your back without excruciating pain by the time you're 70 you can either count on being one of the chosen few with good genes or not run to much.

This is why the elderlies are encouraged to exercise. Younger people are told to exercise. Healthy eating is endorsed everywhere. etc.

However, you still haven't shown me that running leads to disc herniation at old age. Like I said, the requirement for herniation (most frequently at lumbosacral interface) is weak posterior annulus and abnormal curvature of the back. If one is to reduce the intensity of exercise with age which is what we all do, how will your hypothesis hold?

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Kirkburn
At the age of about 30 that's over. Their body can't make it any more.

Of course it's over at around 30. Pretty much everyone's peak fitness is in their twenties. Once you're past that point there's no point competing any more, because you won't win.

They don't suddenly collapse into terrible health, they just retire. It proves little.

As we all love analogies and this is about the only body-related one I can think of: porn stars are generally in their twenties. Just because most stop after that, doesn't mean they're suddenly "terrible" - it's just that their body is no longer as well suited as it was for the intended purpose: looking good.

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petrossa

This is why the elderlies are encouraged to exercise. Younger people are told to exercise. Healthy eating is endorsed everywhere. etc.

However, you still haven't shown me that running leads to disc herniation at old age. Like I said, the requirement for herniation (most frequently at lumbosacral interface) is weak posterior annulus and abnormal curvature of the back. If one is to reduce the intensity of exercise with age which is what we all do, how will your hypothesis hold?

We had the 'healthy' exercise discussion already and i've shown conclusively that there's no scientific foundation for it. Being fit yes, but fit doesn't equal healthy. People can suffer from life threatening diseases and still be fit.

About the running.

I don't your background but i am sure you have some engineering in there. If you do my center mass/curved spine comparison you can see the lines of force running straight through the back of the spine and distributing part of that load towards front via the disks at every step you make.

Coupled with the extremely high proportion of hernia's at any age, one can conclusively state that even mere walking already does enough damage to the back. I mean you are not going to get hernia's sitting in a chair and if most hernia's were due to a false movement and /or heavy lifting of objects you wouldn't see hernia's all over the cross section of the population.

That top athletes are self selected prime genetic material is more than obvious and as such are completely unrepresentative for the population. That even prime genetic material has it's limits is also obvious.?

Of course it's over at around 30. Pretty much everyone's peak fitness is in their twenties. Once you're past that point there's no point competing any more, because you won't win.

They don't suddenly collapse into terrible health, they just retire. It proves little.

A stone mason retires at 60. Be sure he carries heavy loads. It proves a lot.

As we all love analogies and this is about the only body-related one I can think of: porn stars are generally in their twenties. Just because most stop after that, doesn't mean they're suddenly "terrible" - it's just that their body is no longer as well suited as it was for the intended purpose: looking good.

Lol. Not much of porn fan obviously; Well that shows you have a clean mind. For the record: Above 30 pornstars are very active. Look up the acronym MILF on a porn site.

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Minimoose

Well first of all we are talking here about top athletes, those we could possibly run at high speeds. We are not talking about amateur or leisure activities.

To be a top athlete you have to exercise. A lot. You can't just live a normal life and then get up sunday morning and sprint at 40 mph. So the wear and tear is constant.

Then you have to question of autoselection. That is, those who become top athletes are already of the right genetic mix to be top athletes. So they are already at peak performance beyond average.

Nowadays a top sprinter runs at less then 10 secs for the 100m. That's the rare top athletes. So at 1 sec a meter they run at 60 km's an hour. At the age of about 30 that's over. Their body can't make it any more.

Here they are talking to adding some 20 km's an hour to that speed. That's 30% more.

Let's be real here.

You're being rather generous with your km/h and miles/h, the article said that Bolt runs at 28mph not 40mph

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TrueMonolith

You're being rather generous with your km/h and miles/h, the article said that Bolt runs at 28mph not 40mph

Indeed.

100m in 10 secs = 10 ms-1

This is 36Kmh-1

This is 23 miles/h

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Zain Adeel

Sorry mate. You might be widely educated in a broad range of topics (or read Wikipedia a lot), but I'm gonna go with a family history of several generations of doctors and nurses. Not me specifically, but I've been around the medical profession all my life from assorted relatives. ;) The human body is capable of all sorts of incredible things.

i second that!!..

do u know about Roberto Carlos?

brazilian free-kick specialist?

well.. that guy could spin the ball like nobody else. And look at his thighs.. HE GOT SOME POWER..

nobody beat his best free-kick to date!!!

and u know whats the best part??

footballs made now are lighter and retain their shape better in midflight. (so... in a way they should spin more)

but i see nobody kick the ball harder then he does.

If u ask me.

Il say we will indeed see somebody run 35mph.. but damn that would be painful..

and what is not mentioned in the study is the speed of the legs.

And its my personal experience that there really is something like channeling ur strength in a perticular motion and direction by combining force generated by the movement of every single muscle in your body.

I play alot of soccer myself. And at times i hit the ball so so hard, but at other times my kick movement is slow fluid, yet slower. but the ball flys 20% faster then hitting it with all the force. Because technique allows you to bring all the force to the tip of ur foot where it touches with the ball.

same for every other sport.

u see guys punching through everything!!! They know how to get all the force in the palm of their hands.

I can assure you the technique will develop and you will see faster runners for a long time to come..

The human body is indeed incredible..

(no body mentioned if you could control adrenaline and use it for all the small bursts of energy every step).

The body is a mystery...

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petrossa

You're being rather generous with your km/h and miles/h, the article said that Bolt runs at 28mph not 40mph

Yeah, sorry. Confusing stuff those quaint old measurements....High time metric becomes the universal standard, at land, sea and in the air. Why have a seamile and a landmile?

i second that!!..

do u know about Roberto Carlos?

brazilian free-kick specialist?

well.. that guy could spin the ball like nobody else. And look at his thighs.. HE GOT SOME POWER..

nobody beat his best free-kick to date!!!

and u know whats the best part??

footballs made now are lighter and retain their shape better in midflight. (so... in a way they should spin more)

but i see nobody kick the ball harder then he does.

If u ask me.

Il say we will indeed see somebody run 35mph.. but damn that would be painful..

and what is not mentioned in the study is the speed of the legs.

And its my personal experience that there really is something like channeling ur strength in a perticular motion and direction by combining force generated by the movement of every single muscle in your body.

I play alot of soccer myself. And at times i hit the ball so so hard, but at other times my kick movement is slow fluid, yet slower. but the ball flys 20% faster then hitting it with all the force. Because technique allows you to bring all the force to the tip of ur foot where it touches with the ball.

same for every other sport.

u see guys punching through everything!!! They know how to get all the force in the palm of their hands.

I can assure you the technique will develop and you will see faster runners for a long time to come..

The human body is indeed incredible..

(no body mentioned if you could control adrenaline and use it for all the small bursts of energy every step).

The body is a mystery...

Which goes to show what as to my original comment exactly? I've also seen on Discovery some series about supersportsman and their amazing feats as compared to average joe.

Which doesn't mean much since average joe, such as myself, couldn't punch a hole in a paper bag.

That's the problem with comparing stuff, the baseline. If your baseline is low anything higher is exceptional.

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PricklyPoo

u see guys punching through everything!!!

Ya, stuff that gives...I'll be impressed when someone punches through a piece of steel (with some reasonable size, low amount of impurities). :p

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