Body Has Do-It-Yourself Guide To Running
Should people be taught proper running form, or will they figure it out themselves? That’s the question that researchers at the Bioenergetics and Human Performance Research Group at the University of Exeter in England set out to answer in s study that has been published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. New York Times Phys Ed columnist Gretchen Reynolds kindly translates the study into language that we can all understand, explaining that the researchers filmed a group of untrained women who ran on a treadmill for 10 weeks, while wired up with motion-capture sensors, heart rate monitors and other equipment. The researchers hoped to see if, and more importantly, how the women’s running became more economical, meaning they could run farther and faster with less energy. And they did. The women got faster, and their endurance improved. In fact, the researchers found that over ten weeks, the women’s ability to use oxygen improved by 8.5 percent. They did it, Reynolds tells us, by changing their form in ways that were subtle, but remarkably similar. Most of the women, for example, began bending their knees and flexing their ankles slightly more so that their legs were bent when they kicked off from the ground. Read more from Gretchen Reynolds. Read an abstract of the study here.