March 8, 2017

Physics 101

A little brain training this Wednesday… A new physics discovery could help make you a faster runner, and help injured runners recover faster.  Of course, to analyze and apply this experiment you need access to a motion lab…  So maybe just use this article as some food for thought, a little push to think about how you run and then make changes if you’re not seeing improvements right now.  At least, until someone develops an app for that…

“One needs to know three things in order to predict a runner’s speed: How much time a runner’s foot spends on the ground, how much time the runner is in the air, and how quickly the ankle is moving when the runner hits the ground.

These measurements reveal a lot that can help the runner go faster, identify an uneven stride that may lead to injury, or find ways to lessen the impact on joints, Weyand said.

Very basic physics lead to very accurate results.

The researchers collected data from 42 runners of varying abilities: Olympic sprinters, high school track athletes and ballet dancers who cross-train by running. They used high-speed motion cameras to measure participants’ gaits and force patterns.

Using basic physics, the researchers generated predictions about running speed based on the impact forces of each step.

They found that a simple two-mass model ― based on the force resulting from the impact of the lower leg (shin, ankle and foot) on the ground, and the force that lifts and supports the rest of the body ― was the equation that most accurately predicted speed, study co-author Laurence Ryan, a physicist and research engineer at SMU’s Locomotor Performance Laboratory, said in a statement. ‘This was true to within a millisecond, every single time. And we did it hundreds of times.'”
– S DiGiulio

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