Thursday, February 6, 2014

Everything is a Lie: Biomechanics Expert Debunks Treadmill-Running Myths

We've all see this, right?  The incline to which you're supposed to set your treadmill to mimic outdoor running at various paces?  Well, apparently, incline doesn't matter (sort of):
In his famous treadmill study, Jones tested experienced runners at six per-mile paces (9:11, 8:03, 7:09, 6:25, 5:51, and 5:21) while they ran on a treadmill that was either flat or inclined by various amounts. Setting the treadmill at a 1% incline made the effort equivalent to outdoor running only to those running 7:09 pace or faster. Let’s face it: Most of us are slower than that. You’re correct if you believe that treadmill runners don’t encounter the “cost” of moving through the air around them (because they don't move; they stay in one place). But it simply doesn’t add up to anything significant unless you’re running 7:09 pace or faster. What else can Kerrigan teach us about treadmill running? That the biomechanics, contrary to what many believe, are essentially the same as overground running. “We had to do a study on that [here] to convince the National Institutes of Health to fund some of our other work,” she told Runner’s World Newswire. “People have a bias against treadmill running--that real runners don’t do it, or that it changes your leg movements. It’s all garbage. We found some minor changes, but they weren’t the ones people expected, and they don’t affect anyone’s running biomechanics.”
So, the only downside of treadmill running is the monotony! Sweet!

In response to this recent development, Runner's World tackled other treadmill myths, including:
1. If you have sex on a moving treadmill, you can’t get pregnant: MYTH. You can, and probably will. Trust me on this one.  
6. Grasping the bar on the front of your treadmill, making a “revving” motion with your right hand, and saying “Vroom! Vroom!” isn’t cool: MYTH. It’s the coolest.
9. Falling on a treadmill is dangerous: MYTH. Falling on a treadmill ishilarious, as George Jetson and any number of YouTube videos demonstrate. 
So, there you have it.  Everything you learned about treadmills is basically a lie.

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