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Walk or Run: Are We Built To Be Lazy?

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the taking-it-easy dept.

Science 189

sciencehabit writes "A quick visit to Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks shows just how many ways humans (or at least British comedians) can think of to travel from point A to point B. So why don't we high kick our way to the bus stop or skip to the grocery store? New research suggests that there may be a deep biomechanical reason governing the gaits we choose in different situations. In short, people consistently choose to walk when they need to travel slower than 2 m/s to reach their goal in the given time; when they needed to move about 3 m/s or faster, they ran. But in between—in 'the twilight zone between walking and running'—people tended to mix the two gaits, minimizing their energy expenditure. The findings could help scientists design better prosthetic limbs and even build more human-like robots"

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Looking around me... (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745633)

It is tempting to say we're built to be lazy. Just look at all the slothful people. On the other hand, being able and willing to NOT be lazy when the time comes has a distinct evolutionary advantage, just as saving energy when one needs to does. I supposed we're meant to be a blend.

Re:Looking around me... (5, Insightful)

epiphani (254981) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745821)

I actually had the opposite reaction. I'm 31, and I constantly fight the urge to run everywhere. I remember all through school, even into early highschool, I'd run everywhere I wanted to go.

Then it was uncool to run. Then inappropriate. Then unprofessional. A year ago, effectively 15 years after I stopped running everywhere, I started running for exercise. I'm getting back into shape. And I'm finding it annoying that I can't just run all the time - I'll get sweaty or smelly, and that's just socially unacceptable.

I'm pretty sure we're all meant to run a LOT more than we do - and we've forced ourselves to stop due to social pressure.

Re:Looking around me... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745921)

You like to run. That's cool. I've got a great friend from high school who was a cross-country runner back then and is now a marathoner (we're in our late 30s). He likes to run too. Me, on the other hand, I hate running. I've never been good at it, I've never been fast, and it always makes me feel like crap to do it. Combined with a family history of bad knees, there's no way I'm running anywhere. But I do walk awfully fast...

Re:Looking around me... (3, Insightful)

epiphani (254981) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745943)

You misunderstand. I'm impatient. Now that I'm actually capable of running a reasonable distance, I get annoyed walking because I could be getting there faster!

Re:Looking around me... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746273)

You must live somewhere cold...

Actually, I think you're probably a really good example of someone who's at the other end of the spectrum from obesity - the obese have metabolisms which over-retain energy, while people like you tend to under-retain it. The latter definitely makes you look better, at least until a famine comes around...

Re:Looking around me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746535)

Get a bike

Re:Looking around me... (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747605)

Get yourself a bicycle. Way faster and less energy expenditure (i.e. less sweating) than walking or running.

Re:Looking around me... (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748299)

Don't forget how much more stylish and hip cyclists are. Also, we get to really annoy car drivers.

Re:Looking around me... (2)

quadrox (1174915) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748343)

I know exactly how you feel, been like this all my life. When I'm walking with other people I constantly have to remind myself to slow down because they can't keep up.

Re:Looking around me... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746151)

Me, on the other hand, I hate running. I've never been good at it, I've never been fast, and it always makes me feel like crap to do it. Combined with a family history of bad knees, there's no way I'm running anywhere.

I used to feel exactly the same way you did. I then purchased a book on how to run (The POSE Method of Running, by Romanov - you can also look up Chi running or natural running), worked at it so I had zero joint impact (including at the knees), and now I can run 10 miles at a shot pretty easily.

Did I mention that I started this at age 38?

Re:Looking around me... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746349)

Well, I do appreciate the input. I'll check it out, although when I tried Couch to 5K (an appropriately modest program, not like couch potato to P90X in one step) a couple of years ago it took three months for my knees to quit hurting after two weeks of running. I could barely walk for a month. Sad, really, because I really noticed the aerobic benefits quite rapidly - every run was noticeably easier than the one before. But I still hate exercise. I played American football in high school as an offensive and defensive tackle, so I've trained at a reasonably high level, and I never got a runner's high or anything like it. I do feel better, overall and in a general sense, if I exercise, but the problem is that any specific bout of exercising leaves me feeling like a dead man. I have never felt immediately better after exercising than before.

Re:Looking around me... (4, Informative)

Vaphell (1489021) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746495)

haven't you overused heels by any chance? not that i am a runner, but people doing barefoot running say it's because heel running skips all the dampening effect provided by foot muscles/tendons+calf and the whole shock goes along the rigid bone straight to the knee. Soft heel in a shoe provides false sense of security but doesn't offset the lack of natural shock absorption.
If you are barefoot on a hard stone floor, are you able to use heels at all? i know i don't, it fucking hurts and that tells me it's not how it's supposed to be done.

Re:Looking around me... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747139)

Your point is actually quite valid generally, but there is the secondary issue here: I have exercised at levels ranging from "walking in the neighborhood for 15 minutes" to "near-maximal effort for one hour straight followed by two hours of high-moderate activity", and I have never once felt better after a workout than before it. We are all different, and while I'd love to be one of those people (like my friend) who can get a runner's high, I just don't. Exercise makes me tired, hungry, and sore. It has never done anything else.

Re:Looking around me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748477)

Dude, you should totally start swimming.

Re:Looking around me... (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747317)

Knowing how to run has made a big difference for me. I was a cross-country track runner in High School, but fattened up for about a decade afterwards until about 30 before becoming a runner again. I've always ran with good quality shoes, etc. but ran the way I was taught in High School: rolling off your heels and lengthening your stride as long as possible in order to maximize speed.

Over the years, I picked up some injuries (ankle, foot, hip, knee) that bothered me while running until I decided to run decidedly on my toes. Mind you, I still have the expensive, therapeutic running shoes, I just run off my toes and shorten my stride somewhat.

The difference has been rather startling. People should NOT run on their heels!

Re:Looking around me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748111)

fantastic post. In the first year of my undergrad (physics) degree I trained a lot of martial arts and hence did a lot of running...It was explained to us that the reason sooo many people get bad knees is that they neglect the wonderful shock-absorbing benefits of using the skeletal and muscular structures beneath the knees, ie they run on their heels. For a heel runner to switch can be a bit tough on the calves for a while but muscular soreness beats joint aches by a country mile and heals a LOT faster.

Re:Looking around me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748309)

Did I mention that I started this at age 38?

Not until here; that's the first and only time you mentioned it.

Re:Looking around me... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746011)

Look up "Runner's high". You always want to run because you crave that high again. Bring a change of clothing and learn to take a dry or sponge bath. You won't be sweaty or smelly anymore in social settings.

There are some credible theories that we evolved and are Born To Run (name of a good book). Research it if you want to know more. Do you want to know more?

Re:Looking around me... (1)

ksemlerK (610016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746103)

I love you Bruce [youtube.com] !!

Re:Looking around me... (0)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746335)

Run, Forrest, run!

Re:Looking around me... (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746469)

I'll get sweaty or smelly, and that's just socially unacceptable.

You can run without getting sweaty if you keep your pace down to around 12 minutes or less. If it's summer, run with the shirt in your pocket and then when you reach your destination, dry off in the restroom and put the shirt on. It will be no worse than the smell from walking around.

Re:Looking around me... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746991)

Same here.

Re:Looking around me... (1)

Smauler (915644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747947)

I'm pretty sure we're all meant to run a LOT more than we do - and we've forced ourselves to stop due to social pressure.

Hate to break it to you... but we're not. Humans run worse than just about every vaguely similar sized animal on the planet. The reason that we are the way we are is most definitely not because we can run fast.

It's up to you whether you run - I hate running personally, but love swimming, football (yes I know that involves running), rowing, tennis (see before). My knees are not cut out for long distances.

Re:Looking around me... (3, Informative)

scheme (19778) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748295)

I'm pretty sure we're all meant to run a LOT more than we do - and we've forced ourselves to stop due to social pressure.

Hate to break it to you... but we're not. Humans run worse than just about every vaguely similar sized animal on the planet. The reason that we are the way we are is most definitely not because we can run fast.

It's up to you whether you run - I hate running personally, but love swimming, football (yes I know that involves running), rowing, tennis (see before). My knees are not cut out for long distances.

Actually, if you look at the stats, people tend to be the most efficient runners on the planet (with kangaroos coming in second). Although quadrupeds can run faster, they tire out much more quickly as well as overheat. The end result is that over longer distances (45+ km), humans are pretty competitive with animals such as horses. There's actually a hunting technique that's been used called exhaustion hunting, where people chased a deer or whatever until it collapsed from exhaustion and then ran up to it and killed it. It works because running on two legs is more efficient than running on 4 legs and because people have a few adaptations (e.g. hairless skin, etc.) that allow them to get rid of heat more easily.

Re:Looking around me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748379)

I actually had the opposite reaction. I'm 31, and I constantly fight the urge to run everywhere. I remember all through school, even into early highschool, I'd run everywhere I wanted to go.

Then it was uncool to run. Then inappropriate. Then unprofessional. A year ago, effectively 15 years after I stopped running everywhere, I started running for exercise. I'm getting back into shape. And I'm finding it annoying that I can't just run all the time - I'll get sweaty or smelly, and that's just socially unacceptable.

I'm pretty sure we're all meant to run a LOT more than we do - and we've forced ourselves to stop due to social pressure.

Cool story bro.

Re:Looking around me... (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747233)

Old bull and young bull are on top of a hill. They look around and see a herd of cows. The young bull gets all excited, says: 'I'm going to run down there and fuck a cow'. The old bull says: 'I'm going to walk down there and then fuck _all_ those cows.'

Fuck Sake (5, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745669)

It's not called being lazy. It's called SURVIVING on LIMITED RESOURCES, which is what Humans had to do for hundreds of thousands of years before developing the technology to increase food availability.

Expending the least amount of energy was called SURVIVAL.

We really have completely lost touch with reality, haven't we? We are living in the idiocracy.

Re:Fuck Sake (1)

religious freak (1005821) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745829)

Angry much?

Re:Fuck Sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746597)

Give the guy a break, after all according to the subject he wants to copulate with some rice wine. That'd make me rage too.

Re:Fuck Sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748497)

may as well call it rice beer.

Re:Fuck Sake (4, Funny)

schlachter (862210) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745841)

It's not called being lazy. It's called SURVIVING on LIMITED RESOURCES, ....

And I totally pictured a bunch of nerds in their parent's basements living off energy drinks and cheetos...reaching for their mouse

Re:Fuck Sake (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748209)

reaching for their mouse

I've never heard it called that before.

Re:Fuck Sake (4, Insightful)

mister2au (1707664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745947)

I think there is a more subtle point to the study ...

Energy expenditure for walking above 2m/s (7.2kph / 4.5mph) increases quite dramatically and for above 3m/s (10.8kph / 6.8/mph) you physically need to be running.

In the transition (between 2-3 m/s) it seems to be more economical to access the low energy walking at low speed supplemented by whatever limited running is needed. For example, to average 2.5 m/s (9kph or 5.6mph) it is better walk half of it at 2m/s and run half at 3m/s rather than power-walk or slow-jog at 2.5 m/s consistently.

Point of the study is that people tend to naturally optimise this ... or conversely i would argue that people are poor at judging speeds and have to increase/decrease to make the time limit - it would be interesting to repeat but give people a pace-indicator and see if people still maintained alternating speeds or changed instead to a steady pace.

Obviously the title is stupid and really should been focused on how WELL people optimise their energy output not whether people do.

Re:Fuck Sake (2)

similar_name (1164087) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745987)

Not just humans, I would argue most (if not all) life expends as little energy as necessary.

Re:Fuck Sake (1)

Leuf (918654) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747227)

Please explain this to the squirrels and chipmunks in my backyard that dart and twitch around like meth heads on a sugar high.

Re:Fuck Sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748525)

Those guys are constantly stashing food because they always forget where they put it. They never lose the high to begin with due to low short-term memory. Also, you are probably constantly seeing new generations, all those little rodents fuck like rabbits.

Re:Fuck Sake (1)

quantaman (517394) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746073)

The headlines are just flamebait to get page views and comments.

But there's nothing wrong with the science, sure it confirms something that seems pretty obvious, but it's important for science to do that sometimes.

Re:Fuck Sake (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746369)

The happiest and joyous moments of our lives are when we have spent large amounts of energy. The times when we did nothing and spent very little energy is not memorable or significant part of our lives.

Our bodies are designed to want to expend energy, efficiently expending energy helps. But, the whole point of being alive is to spend energy.

Isn't saying humans had to survive on limited resources for hundreds of thousands of years a wild guess? It could be very well that humans did pretty well hunting and gathering. There are many animals out there who don't have to survive on limited resources - like deer. They have all the food they want out there.

Re:Fuck Sake (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746677)

We really have completely lost touch with reality, haven't we?

Welcome back

Re:Fuck Sake (1)

MasseKid (1294554) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747163)

Where is the "mod parent to +stackoverflow."? option

Re:Fuck Sake (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747339)

And Cliff Young proved it [badassoftheweek.com] long ago without resorting to random CAPITALIZATION that sounds like RANDOM SCREAMING to the inner voice that most of us USE when reading your blimey POST.

Re:Fuck Sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42747387)

"We are living in the idiocracy"

We're almost there. We're still awaiting the mark of the beast implant which has been used for humor and will continue to be even up to its roll out because people are stupid and the Christians will be barked at the most, those who are true enough to their God to reject the beastly technology.

OT: Interesting how Obama's ride is called, "The Beast."

Re:Fuck Sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42747833)

No, it's just Slashdot editors.

Is it lazy to be prudent? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42745689)

Consider our ancestors. Would it be a good idea to always rush from point A to point B, risking near constant exhaustion? Predators would find us an easy kill at that point.

I'd argue that this conservative behavior is evolutionarily driven.

Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (2)

GreyLurk (35139) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745767)

Which is a good part of the reason that dieting and exercise are so hard to get into for a lot of people. We have deeply ingrained evolutionary drives to eat whatever food is available to us, and conserve our calories as much as possible, because as animals, we never knew when our next meal would be available, so you darn well better eat as much of that deer carcass as you can before it goes bad, or some bigger predator tries to take it from you.

Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746247)

Also: dieting and exercise are often misapplied. Exercise is for making you stronger or increasing your endurance. Diet is for changing your body fat. Using one when you should use the other is not going to work, long-term. Try getting rid of sugars and starches and see how much weight you lose. I've dropped 75 lbs / 35 kg since last March, and the only change I have made is that I now eat less than ten grams of carbohydrate a day as a goal, with less than twenty grams as the absolute limit. I have not engaged in an exercise plan, although doing so would be beneficial, and I didn't quit drinking alcohol, although I do stay away from beer (loaded with maltose) and try to keep wine down to two or three glasses a week. Spirits (but not liqueurs) are carbohydrate free, after all, as long as you use sugar-free mixers.

Try it. Change your life. It sure changed mine. Remember: Obesity is a disease of fat storage. If your body is predisposed to store energy as fat, and you thus have low circulating levels of energy (glucose, fatty acids, and ketone bodies), you will of course be hungry all the time, until you accumulate enough fat that the basal release of fatty acids from all your tissue is adequate to provide for the body's energy needs. You will be puzzled why you have thin friends who plow through half again as much food as you do with no ill effects, but this is because they don't share your problem - they metabolize carbohydrates rather than storing them. And you will struggle with your weight, as I did for the first 37 years of my life. Then I found the way out. The last time I was this thin, I was eating 800-1000 calories a day and was constantly hungry. Tonight I had a two-egg omelet cooked in a tablespoon of lard stuffed with ground pork sausage and cream cheese and topped with sambal oelek (basically chunky Sriracha without the sugar) for dinner. I had fried chicken with the breading and skin pulled off for lunch. I had eight strips of bacon for breakfast. Yesterday, I skipped breakfast, ate half a NY strip for lunch, and had green beans, mushrooms, and a T-bone for dinner. I don't have the constant hunger anymore. I feel great. And I can totally eat like this for the rest of my life.

Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (1)

Smauler (915644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748019)

Try getting rid of sugars and starches and see how much weight you lose.

Alternatively, try getting rid of sugars and starches and see what you're allowed to eat... then compare it to a decent low calorie diet.

I can totally eat like this for the rest of my life.

No one is claiming you can't.

Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748377)

You're partially right about excercise and diet, but combining the two can be very effective. If you excercise in the aerobic range (about 50-65% of max heart rate) then your body is going to burn your fat resources for energy. Also, if you increase your muscle mass, it becomes easier to metabolise excess calories.

Carbohydrates aren't necessarily bad; it's the amount of them that causes the problem. If you keep carbs limited to fruit and vegetables, then you're extremely unlikely to put on weight. Your diet sounds like it's almost an Atkins style diet which is not the most healthy - it can punish your liver if you eat like that forever.

Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (1)

erice (13380) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745927)

Consider our ancestors. Would it be a good idea to always rush from point A to point B, risking near constant exhaustion? Predators would find us an easy kill at that point.

I'd argue that this conservative behavior is evolutionarily driven.

Quite so. Though, I think you have the scenario backwards. Our ancestors were the predators. They relentlessly "ran" down their prey, moving efficiently while forcing the quarry to sprint erratically trying to get away until they collapsed from exhaustion.

Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746341)

If you think humans were successful endurance hunters, you've probably never tried to chase down so much as a dog.

I'd say it was a miracle our ancestors survived long enough to invent the thrown spear, but that wouldn't be fair to Thag Grobnak. Real predators would have driven us to extinction long ago if not for his efforts.

So if you're reading this, drink a toast to Thag Grobnak and his highly successful chain of Opposable-Thumb Massage Parlors.

Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746451)

If you think humans were successful endurance hunters, you've probably never tried to chase down so much as a dog.

I've also never tried to hunt a woolly mammoth with a sharpened stick but that does not mean that it did not happen. The same is true of persistence hunting [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747419)

You've chosen the only other example of a cursorial hunter. Over the course of a few days, no other land animals can outpace fit humans and dogs.

Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (1)

Smauler (915644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748071)

I seriously doubt that. Got any citations?

Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748159)

she or he should probably have said "no other predator can outpace fit humans and dogs."...

horses can easily outpace both yet are not predatory animals.

also dogs and humans co-exist for more than one reason

Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (1)

Smauler (915644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748169)

Seriously off topic question... How did people kill mammoths with their tools? If they killed mammoths, why not elephants?

Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748249)

How did people kill mammoths with their tools?

They chased them over cliffs.

If they killed mammoths, why not elephants?

Mammoth tastes better than elephant.

Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (1)

mister2au (1707664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746209)

Completely not the point of the article ...

It's not about slection of speed to get somewhere, but instead about how people optimise for whatever average speed they select

Kind of obvious (1)

DaemonDan (2773445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745707)

So when people need to run, they run, but if they don't need to run, they don't? Is that really all this is saying? I sure hope there is some more technical benefit to the field of prostheses or this study was probably a waste of money.

Re:Kind of obvious (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745869)

So when people need to run, they run, but if they don't need to run, they don't? Is that really all this is saying? I sure hope there is some more technical benefit to the field of prostheses or this study was probably a waste of money.

My dog doesn't follow this pattern, she runs pretty much everywhere, even when she has no obvious reason to get there in a hurry. Except of course, when I'm standing by the car calling her and trying to coax her to come quickly so we can go home, then she walks slowly and meanders her way back to the car.

Re:Kind of obvious (1)

DaemonDan (2773445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746309)

Reminds me of an article I saw from BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21142870) showing that one of the key differences between dogs and wolves was in brain development. Dog are essentially mentally handicapped and stuck in a permanent state of puppyhood. Maybe that's why they don't move in "energy efficient" ways. Either that or running is just fun.

Re:Kind of obvious (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747463)

Running is fun. Children will run around as play, for no obvious purpose.

Domesticated dogs are in many ways smarter than wolves and foxes, although there's a lot of variation by breed. They can be trained to pick up on human gestures, and wolves (generally) can't.

Re:Kind of obvious (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748255)

My dog doesn't follow this pattern, she runs pretty much everywhere

Because she (and domesticated dogs in general) have very few survival pressures on them these days. In fact, by running around and being cute they probably get more treats.

UH-HUH !! I HAVE 2.2 KIDS !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42745747)

My first two are fine !! My third is, well, IT is not fine !! Not fine at all !!

There is a social stigma about running too (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745749)

If you get in shape, you become more prone to bouncing around and spending more energy. The better you are in shape, the more you'd prefer to run than walk. Problem is, if you're booking it everywhere you go, you turn everyone's heads and they glare at you. I think it has something to do with the social idea,"If that guy is running, maybe he just did something wrong, aka a thief." Or maybe it is just jealousy. Seriously, go around running everywhere you go, and you'll get lots of upset people looking at you. I just got tired of it and forced myself to slow down to a walk so everyone didn't glare at me any more.

Sure, if you run on accepted running paths, it is no big deal. But go running around stores, or running down campus, or running on sidewalks, and the glares will make you wonder if it is socially acceptable to run everywhere you go.

Re:There is a social stigma about running too (1)

jxander (2605655) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745881)

If anything, your perceived social stigma from running comes not from potential thievery, or other wrongdoing, but lowered ability to maneuver and avoid collisions. If you're running down the grocery store aisles, you are much more likely to clip a display, knock over the sodas, or crash into an old lady as you turn a corner. Moving slowly, i.e. walking, gives you time to react and avoid those dangerous situations, and lowers the impact should you still manage to bump into someone. Plus, the wheels on shopping carts/trolleys aren't built to handle the RPM inherent in a full sprint. They barely handle a brisk walking pace.

Your "accepted running paths" are simply places with a good visibility of what's ahead, lower density of bystanders, and virtually no property that can be damaged if bumped.

Re:There is a social stigma about running too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746045)

Your comment reminded me of Bike rights [youtube.com] . Your idea taken to the silly level.

Re:There is a social stigma about running too (1)

mister2au (1707664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746153)

Spot on ...

Same social stigma as driving 100mph everywhere ... you may have the energy, ability and preference to do it - but safety (not jealousy) suggests moderation in many situations is the social norm

Re:There is a social stigma about running too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746013)

Dress in overtly running/fitness gear, you'll get less angry glare and less accusations of THIEF!

Sounds like great research. (1)

ciaohound (118419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745753)

I'd like to obtain a government grant to help me develop it.

Re:Sounds like great research. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746485)

I propose a new XKCD shirt:

Human Speed:
Desired - Actual
______________

Slow - Slow
Medium - Medium
Fast - Fast
Science: It works, bitches.

As an aside, trying to draw tables on slashdot is like trying to make an omelet with a baking pan. If only there was some way to encode tables using HTML...

already have prothesis when I need to move fast (1, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745787)

My "time to move fast" prothesis accomodates 7 humans comfortably and has a 150 hp engine and goes 180 kph

So let me get this straight... (4, Funny)

theIsovist (1348209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745859)

... Scientists discovered jogging?

Re:So let me get this straight... (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745887)

Shhh. Don't let Apple know or they'll try to patent it. With rounded corners.

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42745949)

Nope, if you read the article, you'd see that they have not, yet. Presumably they will soon enough though. Though their predictions about laziness seem to be spot on.

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748179)

They're unlikely to discover a reason for jogging through that line of research. Jogging is basically the worst of both worlds: it gets you there slower than running, takes more energy than walking, and is less efficient than mixing the two. It may have a place for people who need exercise more strenuous than walking but (for whatever reason) can't run any substantial distance, but I doubt it has any particular evolutionary benefit.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746615)

2m/s is 13.4 min/mile and 3m/s is 8.9 min/mile.

Definitely jogging pace but I think walking gait while jogging would probably count as heel striking and bad running/jogging form.

But racewalkers can do 6 min/mile walking.

And when you need to go up to about 10m/s... (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42745937)

...you cycle.

If I need to go faster than 3m/s... (2)

ksemlerK (610016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746015)

I'm driving or flying there. Fuck using my feet.

Anecdote (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746033)

I used to work in an office with an extremely athletic lady. She used to run (actually more of a jog) down the aisles between cubicles. Not bad looking either.

One day, my boss was standing in the doorway, talking with me when she ran by. He gave her sort of an odd look. When he turned back to speak with me, I said, "If I were her, I'd run by this cubicle as well."

He was laughing so hard, it was pretty much the end of our conversation.

Automated paydays ad on the bottom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746037)

NOW there is an automated paydays ad on the bottom. what is happening to /.?

Re:Automated paydays ad on the bottom? (1)

VanessaE (970834) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747689)

What is this thing you call an "ad"? Is it contagious?

The plenny-step (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746133)

After WWII ended, German POWs in the gulags of the Soviet Union adopted a particular method of movement known as the "plenny-step". This was designed by the prisoners to conserve energy when the Communists provided a starvation diet. Not much is known of the exact method used, other than it "turned the camp inhabitants into a mass of bent, crawling figures" [blogspot.com] . You have to realize that the human body (and all animals) do a really good job with optimizing energy output for work achieved.

I always run everywhere! (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746243)

At least in Skyrim. But I play that a lot, so I think it counts.

why not run everywhere? (1)

Wansu (846) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746271)

... like Forrest Gump? There are short term problems like perspiration to deal with unless you and those around you don't mind you smelling gamey.

Then there are long term issues like joint wear. I used to enjoy running but my knees wore out and knee replacement really doesn't fix that.

Re:why not run everywhere? (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746525)

Then there are long term issues like joint wear. I used to enjoy running but my knees wore out and knee replacement really doesn't fix that.

The whole joint wear thing is absolute bullshit.

There are former long distance runners who have run for decades at 120 miles per week and now even in their 60s and 70s, don't have joint wear. Plus, in their youth, they were running elite marathon pace, around 12 mph for marathons.

Why is it that joint wear only happens to the "exercise" runners?

Re:why not run everywhere? (3, Informative)

mister2au (1707664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746955)

Why is it that joint wear only happens to the "exercise" runners?

Because it is not joint wear but a symptom of prior joint damage.

Serious runners run within their limits and typically run with good form ... Exercise runners are more prone to 'over-train' relative to their ability and are typically in worse shape than serious runners (eg. more body weight, poorer running form, less conditioning of muscles and ligaments).

Hence, exercise runners are more prone to do damage that will later develop into osteoarthritis.

I think there is reasonable evidence that amateurs in most sports have higher injury rates than professionals, despite the professionals undertaking physically more demanding activities.

Likewise, plenty is evidence that knees (and joint in general) do not just "wear out" as you correctly suggest.

Re:why not run everywhere? (1)

Nos. (179609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747821)

A lot of this comes down to form. Run well, with proper gait and you're very unlikely to injure yourself running. Run with poor form, constant heal striking, and yes, you're going to put a lot of extra stress on your body that is unnecessary and actually takes MORE energy than running properly. Like any exercise, learn to do it properly before worrying about "how much" of it you do.

Energy distribution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746655)

I think part of it is that we try to distribute our muscle use. We first use our walking muscles, after a while their energy runs a little low so we switch over to jogging which uses different muscles. By the time their energy runs low our walking muscles have recovered a little bit so we switch back. It's the same reason why, when lifting weights, you plan your workout, or workouts in general are planned.

No we aren't built to be lazy (1)

jebblue (1160883) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746805)

No we aren't built to be lazy. If you're reading this and you think you're lazy...wake up! +we are not meant or built to be lazy+ That does not mean we have to work for peanuts either. "Just because you're assigned the job of swabbing the deck doesn't mean you have to be the best deck swabber unless you happen to like that work." That's what my Dad taught me. And if you like swabbing decks, more power to you in all honesty.

Skipping (1)

Highland Deck Box (2786087) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746831)

Skipping is actually a quite efficient and speedy way to cover ground. You do feel a little silly doing it as an adult male though :D

Re:Skipping (1)

Y.A.A.P. (1252040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747197)

I remember skipping as a kid. I did it in the local mall when my family did our weekly Friday meal/shopping. I did it when I got to our meeting place while waiting for everyone else. I would skip off looking for them instead of just waiting around.

The thing is, after a month of doing this, I wasn't just skipping, I was leaping. It would be a couple of skips to build up enough rebound and then I was leaping. I was able to cover ground much faster than I would normally running in-and-out of the crowd because I could leap over shorter people (I could jump over my own height, easily bounding onto the concrete planters whose edge-tops were above my height) and keep skipping along at that pace with the rebound energy without tiring anywhere near as fast as running. I would guess looking back at it now that I only used about as much energy as jogging, but got better distance/speed.

I eventually stopped doing it because my older brother kept telling me to stop doing it because it was too embarrassing. I grudgingly complied.

Now that someone else brings it up (I was also naturally very good at broken-field running), I wonder at what the result would have been had I not listened to my brother. Could I have continued on with my skipping/leaping to the point that I built up my muscles and technique to keep up a proportionate increase in my leaping ability and set myself up with a better way to travel through crowds or would I have (much more likely) ended up blowing out my knees and/or ankles since human physiology normally doesn't seem to allow for such feats (as the biochemical reactions that allow great leaping abilities in insects reach a point of diminishing returns as you attempt to scale them up)? Perhaps I'm missing something in my evaluations that people have seen in their research in things such as the materials and techniques used in robotic exoskeletons?

Re:Skipping (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747817)

This 1998 paper on skipping [nih.gov] seems to be free to read--at least in my country. It's not fun reading, but maybe you can skip some of it.

Re:Skipping (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748437)

Are you tigger?

Re:Skipping (1)

Phaedrus420 (860578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747805)

This is the thread that I was looking for. Skipping may well be the ultimate bipedal locomotion. It is a shame that it's embarrasingly silly, but I guess that's really everyone else's problem. Let's just call them jealous.

Weight loss (1)

samplehead (538012) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747257)

So the best average speed for weightloss purposes is to jog between 7.2 and 10.8 km/h ?

Not Lazy (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747379)

Not Lazy but Efficient and Adaptable. Most lifeforms adapted to a specific environment we as humans adapted to change.

How is this news? (1)

CurunirAran (2811035) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747651)

When we aren't in a hurry, we walk. When we are in a hurry, we run. When we are only somewhat in a hurry, we speedwalk/semirun.

How the fuck does this qualify in anyway as news? SMH.

Goodies (2)

Whiteox (919863) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747825)

I prefer the 'Policeman' walk - gait or whatever. It's a one leg leap forward with a pointed foot. Gracefull but silly.

Bushmen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748053)

Growing up in South Africa, I remember quite a few stories involving the Bushmen [wikipedia.org] (more PC these days is the term San [wikipedia.org] people). These people traditionally lived in desert or semi-desert regions, living mainly off hunting (bow) and gathering. Since their bows where not very strong, the tactic was to poison the arrow tip, then chase the shot animal on foot until it succumbed to the poison. Another important factor in their survival was water conservation, as it obviously is a scarce commodity in those areas. I guess it needs to be pointed out that food (animals) is also a scarce commodity, requiring energy conservation, and in fact giving rise to some hereditary traits to help in that (Steatopygia [wikipedia.org] ).

They were legendary for having a run that employed a energy (and water) conserving gait that enabled them to run for days on end. Obviously not a sprint, but much faster than walking. I remebered once seeing a documentary on TV that showed this run: feet lifted to a minimum, and also very little movement of other limbs. Obviously just the minimum of movement to get the job done, although I guess it would take some training to get used to that if one has never done it.

They are considered an "ancestral population" of humans and as such are distinct from what is usually considered as "an African" (i.e. a black person).

Walk, Don't Run (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748473)

Walk or run? Easy, Walk, Don't Run [wikipedia.org] .

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