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Concept: Running


We investigated whether sprint interval training (SIT) was a time-efficient exercise strategy to improve insulin sensitivity and other indices of cardiometabolic health to the same extent as traditional moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT). SIT involved 1 minute of intense exercise within a 10-minute time commitment, whereas MICT involved 50 minutes of continuous exercise per session.

Concepts: Improve, Obesity, Sensitivity and specificity, Exercise, Running, Endurance training, Interval training, Long slow distance


Aerobic exercise such as running enhances adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) in rodents. Little is known about the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIT) or of purely anaerobic resistance training on AHN. Here, compared to a sedentary lifestyle, we report a very modest effect of HIT and no effect of resistance training on AHN in adult male rats. We find most AHN in rats that were selectively bred for an innately high response to aerobic exercise that also run voluntarily and - increase maximum running capacity. Our results confirm that sustained aerobic exercise is key in improving AHN.

Concepts: Obesity, Exercise, Overweight, Cycling, Strength training, Weight training, Exercise physiology, Running


Endurance running may have a long evolutionary history in the hominin clade but it was not until very recently that humans ran wearing shoes. Research on modern habitually unshod runners has suggested that they utilize a different biomechanical strategy than runners who wear shoes, namely that barefoot runners typically use a forefoot strike in order to avoid generating the high impact forces that would be experienced if they were to strike the ground with their heels first. This finding suggests that our habitually unshod ancestors may have run in a similar way. However, this research was conducted on a single population and we know little about variation in running form among habitually barefoot people, including the effects of running speed, which has been shown to affect strike patterns in shod runners. Here, we present the results of our investigation into the selection of running foot strike patterns among another modern habitually unshod group, the Daasanach of northern Kenya. Data were collected from 38 consenting adults as they ran along a trackway with a plantar pressure pad placed midway along its length. Subjects ran at self-selected endurance running and sprinting speeds. Our data support the hypothesis that a forefoot strike reduces the magnitude of impact loading, but the majority of subjects instead used a rearfoot strike at endurance running speeds. Their percentages of midfoot and forefoot strikes increased significantly with speed. These results indicate that not all habitually barefoot people prefer running with a forefoot strike, and suggest that other factors such as running speed, training level, substrate mechanical properties, running distance, and running frequency, influence the selection of foot strike patterns.

Concepts: Evolution, Foot, Running, Length, Sprint, Barefoot running, Barefoot


Several studies have correlated elevations in cardiac biomarkers of injury post marathon with transient and reversible right ventricular (RV) systolic dysfunction as assessed by both transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). Whether or not permanent myocardial injury occurs due to repeated marathon running in the aging population remains controversial.

Concepts: Heart, Echocardiography, Muscle, Cardiac muscle, Circulatory system, Cardiovascular system, Running, Marathon


The two major modes of locomotion in humans, walking and running, may be regarded as a function of different speed (walking as slower and running as faster). Recent results using motor learning tasks in humans, as well as more direct evidence from animal models, advocate for independence in the neural control mechanisms underlying different locomotion tasks. In the current study, we investigated the possible independence of the neural mechanisms underlying human walking and running. Subjects were tested on a split-belt treadmill and adapted to walking or running on an asymmetrically driven treadmill surface. Despite the acquisition of asymmetrical movement patterns in the respective modes, the emergence of asymmetrical movement patterns in the subsequent trials was evident only within the same modes (walking after learning to walk and running after learning to run) and only partial in the opposite modes (walking after learning to run and running after learning to walk) (thus transferred only limitedly across the modes). Further, the storage of the acquired movement pattern in each mode was maintained independently of the opposite mode. Combined, these results provide indirect evidence for independence in the neural control mechanisms underlying the two locomotive modes.

Concepts: Transport, Running, Walking, Locomotion, Circumstantial evidence, Treadmill, Animal locomotion, Human skills


The current study examined the adaptive response to both endurance (END) and sprint interval training (SIT) in a group of twenty-one recreationally active adults. All participants completed three weeks (four days/ week) of both END (30 minutes at ~65% VO2peak work rate (WR) and SIT (eight, 20-second intervals at ~170% VO2peak WR separated by 10 seconds of active rest) following a randomized crossover study design with a three-month washout period between training interventions. While a main effect of training was observed for VO2peak, lactate threshold, and submaximal heart rate (HR), considerable variability was observed in the individual responses to both END and SIT. No significant positive relationships were observed between END and SIT for individual changes in any variable. Non-responses were determined using two times the typical error (TE) of measurement for VO2peak (0.107 L/min), lactate threshold (15.7 W), and submaximal HR (10.7bpm). Non-responders in VO2peak, lactate threshold, and submaximal HR were observed following both END and SIT, however, the individual patterns of response differed following END and SIT. Interestingly, all individuals responded in at least one variable when exposed to both END and SIT. These results suggest that the individual response to exercise training is highly variable following different training protocols and that the incidence of non-response to exercise training may be reduced by changing the training stimulus for non-responders to three weeks of END or SIT.

Concepts: Crossover study, Exercise, Adaptive immune system, Variable, Running, Interval training, Renaissance music, Adaptive response


The shape of the human female pelvis is thought to reflect an evolutionary trade-off between two competing demands: a pelvis wide enough to permit the birth of large-brained infants, and narrow enough for efficient bipedal locomotion. This trade-off, known as the obstetrical dilemma, is invoked to explain the relative difficulty of human childbirth and differences in locomotor performance between men and women. The basis for the obstetrical dilemma is a standard static biomechanical model that predicts wider pelves in females increase the metabolic cost of locomotion by decreasing the effective mechanical advantage of the hip abductor muscles for pelvic stabilization during the single-leg support phase of walking and running, requiring these muscles to produce more force. Here we experimentally test this model against a more accurate dynamic model of hip abductor mechanics in men and women. The results show that pelvic width does not predict hip abductor mechanics or locomotor cost in either women or men, and that women and men are equally efficient at both walking and running. Since a wider birth canal does not increase a woman’s locomotor cost, and because selection for successful birthing must be strong, other factors affecting maternal pelvic and fetal size should be investigated in order to help explain the prevalence of birth complications caused by a neonate too large to fit through the birth canal.

Concepts: Childbirth, Human, Female, Pelvis, Human anatomy, Woman, Running, Locomotion


PURPOSE: Running and other strenuous sports activities are purported to increase osteoarthritis (OA) risk, more so than walking and less-strenuous activities. Analyses were therefore performed to test whether running, walking, and other exercise affect OA and hip replacement risk, and to assess BMI’s role in mediating these relationships. METHODS: Proportional hazards analyses of patients' report of having physician-diagnosed OA and hip replacement vs. exercise energy expenditure (metabolic equivalents, METs). RESULTS: 74,752 runners reported 2004 OA and 259 hip replacements during 7.1-year follow-up, while the 14,625 walkers reported 696 OA and 114 hip replacements over 5.7 years. Compared to running <1.8 METhr/d, the risks for OA and hip replacement decreased: 1) 18.1% (P=0.01) and 35.1% (P=0.03), respectively, for 1.8 to 3.6 METhr/d run; 2) 16.1% (P=0.03) and 50.4% (P=0.002), respectively, for 3.6 to 5.4 METhr/d run; and 3) 15.6% (P=0.02) and 38.5% (P=0.01), respectively, for ≥5.4 METhr/d run, suggesting that the risk reduction mostly occurred by 1.8 METhr/d. Baseline BMI was strongly associated with both OA (5.0% increase per kg/m, P=2x10) and hip replacement risks (9.8% increase per kg/m, P=4.8x10), and adjustment for BMI substantially diminished the risk reduction from running ≥1.8 METhr/d for OA (from 16.5%, P=0.01 to 8.6%, P=0.21) and hip replacement (from 40.4%, P=0.005 to 28.5%, P=0.07). The reductions in OA and hip replacement risk by exceeding 1.8 METhr/d did not differ significantly between runners and walkers. Other (non-running) exercise increased the risk of OA by 2.4% (P=0.009) and hip replacement by 5.0% per METhr/d (P=0.02), independent of BMI. CONCLUSIONS: Whereas other exercise increased OA and hip replacement risk, running significantly reduced their risk due, in part, to running's association with lower BMI.

Concepts: Risk, Hip replacement, Running, Walking, Hazard, Indian Reductions, Replacements


Despite an intuitive relationship between technique and both running economy (RE) and performance, and the diverse techniques employed by runners to achieve forward locomotion, the objective importance of overall technique and the key components therein remain to be elucidated.

Concepts: Running


The energy-sparing spring theory of the foot’s arch has become central to interpretations of the foot’s mechanical function and evolution. Using a novel insole technique that restricted compression of the foot’s longitudinal arch, this study provides the first direct evidence that arch compression/recoil during locomotion contributes to lowering energy cost. Restricting arch compression near maximally (~80%) during moderate-speed (2.7 ms(-1)) level running increased metabolic cost by + 6.0% (p < 0.001, d = 0.67; unaffected by foot strike technique). A simple model shows that the metabolic energy saved by the arch is largely explained by the passive-elastic work it supplies that would otherwise be done by active muscle. Both experimental and model data confirm that it is the end-range of arch compression that dictates the energy-saving role of the arch. Restricting arch compression had no effect on the cost of walking or incline running (3°), commensurate with the smaller role of passive-elastic mechanics in these gaits. These findings substantiate the elastic energy-saving role of the longitudinal arch during running, and suggest that arch supports used in some footwear and orthotics may increase the cost of running.

Concepts: Metabolism, Energy, Foot, Theory, Running, Walking, Locomotion, Arches of the foot