You might want to strap a light resistance band between your feet the next time you go out to jog. While this may seem as odd, this is a rather effective method to make you an efficient runner by about 6.4%, according to UC Santa Barbara mechanical engineer Elliot Hawkes.
“In running, the energy is mostly wasted,” said Hawkes, who conducted research on this topic while at Stanford University. His paper appears in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
Running is an extremely inefficient activity for the human body (which is why it’s also a calorie-torching workout). According to Hawkes’ study, for every 10 calories burned, less than one calorie is needed to maintain a constant forward velocity. The other nine calories are spent keeping us from falling as we pound the pavement with our bodymass, as well as braking and accelerating the swinging leg. Hawkes noticed this inefficiency while biking at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco at a cycling track concentric with a running track.
“It was kind of an interesting challenge because as an engineer, when you see a very inefficient system, you think, ‘Oh gosh that’s really bad; there’s got to be some low-hanging fruit that would improve it a bit,’” he said.
So how did they come up with their solution? Find out on The Current.
(Image Credit: Journal of Experimental Biology/ The Current)