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Are We Designed for Long-Distance Running?

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by on 03-04-2009 at 10:36 AM (845 Views)
Foot x Ray If you're a long-distance runner, you know how natural it feels to run. When you get in the groove of a nice long run, everything else melts away and you feel like you were born to be out there running.

If you've ever felt that way, there may be something to it. The human body, in particular the feet, might be perfectly designed for long-distance running. Our short toes, sturdy legs and other anatomical features, as well as our ability to sweat, give us an advantage over most other animals - endurance.

"Humans are well-adapted for endurance running. That's much of what makes the human body what it is," said Harvard University anthropologist Daniel Lieberman. "We're actually terrible sprinters, but the world's best long-distance runners."

This article on Wired suggests our short toes give us a distinct evolutionary advantage over animals with longer toes. Long toes simply aren't suited for running. The article also points out that our ability to sweat gives us greater endurance than four-legged running animals like dogs (especially in the heat or sun), who don't sweat and can't run and pant at the same time.

This assumption, of course, is simple theory and conjecture. Our bodies could have been designed for walking, (as one scientist in the article points out) but it does make sense from an evolutionary standpoint.

At any rate, this theory would explain why running feels so good and offers so many benefits to those who enjoy it. It would also allow me to say, "Get out there and run - it's what you were made to do!"

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