Small runners use more energy


It is difficult to compare tall, heavy, and small, light runners. Of course, light runners have advantages over "Maratonnis". However, a study by Southern Methodist University in Dallas reveals something astonishing.

According to the latest scientific findings, a marathon finish of a small runner is even higher than that of a big runner. Small people consume more energy per kilogram of body weight.

Study on runners: high energy requirements through many steps

The research team at Southern Methodist University in Dallas filmed 48 runners aged 5 to 32 on the treadmill. At different speeds, they determined the oxygen consumption and the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the movement. In addition, they determined the stride length and frequency of the subjects.

The result: Each subject consumed the same amount of energy per step at the same pace – regardless of height, weight, gender or age. This means that people with short legs have to take more steps and thus use more energy than people with long legs to cover the same distance.

Save energy with low cadence?

If you take this study literally, you should actually advise every runner to take as long as possible steps. Especially natural running supporters demand the exact opposite. Apart from the higher energy consumption indicated by this study, impact forces are lower at high pacing rates and shorter steps.

Small steps are less stressful. In addition, small steps mean that you have to be slow. At a correspondingly high step frequency, the speed is also high. Furthermore, once you have to be able to hold on to great stride at a long distance.

For this you need a good hip extension, and also the muscles would have to get used to it. So if you have short legs or have gotten used to running with high cadence over the years, you should not be in jeopardy just because of this one study.

Picture credits: Val Thoermer / stock.adobe.com

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