We are born to run and we are the greatest distance runners in the world. We might lose with speed to cheetahs and antelopes, but we win every other animal in endurance. How about sledge dogs or horses, who has amazing endurance capacity?
It’s all about physiology
First, quite a clear thing is that we are moving around on two feet. That means only 40% of our bodies are exposed to the sun, while for many other mammals it’s 70% We keep cooler. Also, we are hairless and we have the ability to sweat. So when dogs and horses might win us in the cooler climate, they start to struggle in the hot climates. Our body can keep us cooler and help us continue when every other mammal gets overheated.
Also, our body structure is designed for running. We have elastics tendons on our legs, which store and release energy every strike. Short toes and large gluteal muscles help with balance and give power. Our body release endorphins, natural pain killer. Overall every aspect of our body is designed for running, especially long-distance.
Are we losing our capability to run?
If endurance running is humans superpower, why do many of us find it difficult, suffer injuries or are in too bad shape to even run? Kids learn to run immediately they learn to walk, it’s a natural way to move from point A to point B. The older we get the more comfortable we get. Cars, public transport are must faster and easier than running. Also, secondary work and passive leisure time are the biggest problems and risk factors.
We spend most of our time in front of our desk, or other physically passive work, sitting on the car, sofa, etc. Our body is used to certain body posture and working posture. One hour running a couple of days a week won’t totally undo all that harm we cause our bodies.
Being active around the day, taking regular breaks, moving our bodies, making sure that we have good work ergonomics are easy ways to make the transition from passive work to running smaller.