Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

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kraftwerk
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Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by kraftwerk » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:16 am

Seems like common sense to me. It feels good to run.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/evol ... 85428.html

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Manbaerpig » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:13 am

I think running is the opposite of feeling good :beer

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:21 am

Running too much is anything but healthy. A lady at my work is about to go through her second hip surgery in the last year because she put too much stress on her ligaments/joints with long distance running and a bad CrossFit trainer.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by stoptothink » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:29 am

3CT_Paddler wrote:Running too much is anything but healthy. A lady at my work is about to go through her second hip surgery in the last year because she put too much stress on her ligaments/joints with long distance running and a bad CrossFit trainer.
I think you said it yourself, it isn't the running that is unhealthy, but doing it incorrectly. Learn how to run properly and get a coach who knows what they are doing.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by DiscoBunny1979 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:57 am

We were born to walk or climb, not run. Sure there are those from African Nations that are great runners. . .but for the most part running is bad for the joints. Over time, the stress of impacting the joints causes a problems. It won't be noticed when young, but will be noticed as one ages.

Also, when was the last time you tried to run after, and actually catch, a wild animal by your bare hands? That's why humans created bow and arrow and other contraptions to catch prey.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by MossySF » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:02 pm

stoptothink wrote:I think you said it yourself, it isn't the running that is unhealthy, but doing it incorrectly. Learn how to run properly and get a coach who knows what they are doing.
If we need a coach to learn to run, then we weren't born to run.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by kraftwerk » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:08 pm

DiscoBunny1979 wrote:We were born to walk or climb, not run. Sure there are those from African Nations that are great runners. . .but for the most part running is bad for the joints. Over time, the stress of impacting the joints causes a problems. It won't be noticed when young, but will be noticed as one ages.

Also, when was the last time you tried to run after, and actually catch, a wild animal by your bare hands? That's why humans created bow and arrow and other contraptions to catch prey.
I don't think people were meant to live 50+ years, or run in shoes on asphalt. I believe we are natural runners, even if you shoot an animal with an arrow there is a high chance you'll have to run after it a long way before it dies.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by greg24 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:15 pm

I don't think joint stress was a concern when our forebears were dying by 25.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:20 pm

kraftwerk wrote: I don't think people were meant to live 50+ years.
What do you mean when you say that? Meant by whom? Are you suggesting the process of evolution has a "will" or brain? I would think any adaptation that extends life without sacrificing ability would be an advantageous one.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Brody » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:32 pm

My belief is that the human body is designed to go long distances. It was not designed to go with an identical running gait for 26.2 miles at a time with no change.

In my experience, marathon runners who don't take walk breaks eventually have their bodies break down and ultimately have trouble running. Marathon runners who put some walk breaks in with their running can run for virtually their entire life with no serious injuries.

The best way that I can describe it is that there is a huge difference in the wear and tear of the body when one runs 20 miles as opposed to running 1 mile 20 times.

I have run lots of marathons, trained over 100 1st time marathon runners, and have gone as far as 28 miles with no injuries and nothing worse than a little post race soreness.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by tludwig23 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:34 pm

"Seems like common sense to me. It feels good to run."

It also feels good to inject yourself with heroin, but I wouldn't say, "Humans were meant to do heroin."


"Also, when was the last time you tried to run after, and actually catch, a wild animal by your bare hands? That's why humans created bow and arrow and other contraptions to catch prey."

This is exactly how humans (in groups) hunted for a couple million years--they chased animals until the animals were overheated and exhausted. Then clubbed them. The arrow has been around for a mere 100,000 years.


"I don't think people were meant to live 50+ years."

I agree with 3CT_Paddler's comment. This sentence makes no sense. Of course the same applies to the title of the article. Humans weren't "meant" to run. Anatomical and physiological adaptations for distance running were selected for during much of the evolutionary history of humans.
Last edited by tludwig23 on Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by tludwig23 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:38 pm

Brody wrote:My belief is that the human body is designed to go long distances.
The human body wasn't designed. But I agree with your general premise. Running long distances to catch prey likely involved varied speed (from walking to sprinting), varied terrain, lots of directional changes, etc. Very different from 26.2 on asphalt at a steady pace. Apparently we were "designed" for fartlek.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by greenspam » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:42 pm

They stole this idea from Bruce Springsteen...
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by stoptothink » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:43 pm

MossySF wrote:
stoptothink wrote:I think you said it yourself, it isn't the running that is unhealthy, but doing it incorrectly. Learn how to run properly and get a coach who knows what they are doing.
If we need a coach to learn to run, then we weren't born to run.
The coach was in reference to the "bad Crossfit coach." You don't need a coach to run injury-free, but one should learn how to do so correctly. Learning the proper fundamentals of anything will make the experience less risky. There are a whole lot of myths regarding the risk involved with running http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/arc ... njury.html

Interesting tidbits:

-'The runners did not have a higher incidence of severe knee and hip pain than the swimmers, nor did the runners undergo surgical procedures more often'
-'...a follow-up study carried out with humans also failed to link locomotory movements on terra firma with long-term leg damage.'
-'...study carried out at Stanford University determined that disabling problems in the legs were five times as likely to occur in sedentary individuals, compared to athletes who engaged in running. Shockingly, the Stanford researchers' data ran against the idea that more running meant more injury, finding that running 15 miles per week cut muscular and skeletal problems by 60%, compared with running five miles per week or less (Anderson, O, 'What's the Truth about Running and Bad Knees?' Running Research News, Vol. 11(8), pp. 10-12, October 1995).
-'...a common belief is that running on very hard surfaces (like concrete, cold Tarmac, terrazzo, etc) creates a higher risk of injury, compared to running on relatively soft terrain. Scientific research actually provides little support for this view (Feehery, RV Jr, 'The Bio-mechanics of Running on Different Surfaces,' Clin Podiatr Med Surg, Vol. 3(4), pp. 649-659, October 1986). In fact, the ground-reaction forces at the foot and the shock transmitted through the body all the way up to the head when running on different surfaces varies very little as one moves from very soft to very hard surfaces.

Also some interesting stuff about why a lot of injuries occur...contemporary running shoes.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by SamGamgee » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:44 pm

I read that a very large number of small anatomical changes between humans and apes are directly related to being able to run moderate speeds for long distances.

Also, human beings are the fastest animal on the earth, if the race is long enough. So we CAN catch a leopard or an antelope -- if we keep following it. Over a long enough distance, a human being can continue to run while another animal that attempts to keep up will literally drop dead.

That's got to tell you something.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Rodc » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:47 pm

Brody wrote:My belief is that the human body is designed to go long distances. It was not designed to go with an identical running gait for 26.2 miles at a time with no change.

In my experience, marathon runners who don't take walk breaks eventually have their bodies break down and ultimately have trouble running. Marathon runners who put some walk breaks in with their running can run for virtually their entire life with no serious injuries.

The best way that I can describe it is that there is a huge difference in the wear and tear of the body when one runs 20 miles as opposed to running 1 mile 20 times.

I have run lots of marathons, trained over 100 1st time marathon runners, and have gone as far as 28 miles with no injuries and nothing worse than a little post race soreness.
This.

One great advantage humans have is they can "...run after, and actually catch, a wild animal by your bare hands..."

The way it works is you get close enough to a heard to have the animals bolt across the savanna. The animals are very fast over short distances. They can get away from you. You trot along and get close again. They bolt. Repeat. They don't have the long distance stamina that humans have and in particular they can't dissipate heat efficiently. After a good long time the humans can still trot along but some poor animal collapses from exhaustion and heat. Bash over head with rock, etc.

Or so I have read.

All animals have their own advantage. We don't have great speed, or great fangs or claws. We have our brains and our stamina. Stamina was of greater value than brains for a good long while before we developed effective long distance weapons.

P.S. I should have finished reading before posting as others have already covered this.
Last edited by Rodc on Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Rodc » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:50 pm

Apparently we were "designed" for fartlek
:)
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Imperabo » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:58 pm

I don't know if I can out-endurance my dog, because he'd disappear over the horizon long before he ran out of gas. But perhaps my ancient ancestors were trappers.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by HookEmBP » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:06 pm

DiscoBunny1979 wrote:We were born to walk or climb, not run. Sure there are those from African Nations that are great runners. . .but for the most part running is bad for the joints. Over time, the stress of impacting the joints causes a problems. It won't be noticed when young, but will be noticed as one ages.

Also, when was the last time you tried to run after, and actually catch, a wild animal by your bare hands? That's why humans created bow and arrow and other contraptions to catch prey.
This is incorrect. Humans have evolved to run vast distances over the course of ~3 million years, but modern running shoes have changed our gait in the last 40. Running shoes are the worst thing that has ever happened to running. More injuries occur with expensive shoes than cheap ones, with thicker shoes than thin ones, and the reason why so many Africans are dominant in long distance are because they learn to run without shoes. If we return to how we were built to run, truly astounding endurance feats would be achievable for every man and woman from youth to extreme old age. By running on two feet as opposed to 4, we are able to endurance run much better. Sweating also separates us from the herd for this and allows us to run down our prey. Persistence hunting (combined with tools and our intellect) enabled humans to reach the top of the food chain. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=826HMLoiE_o

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Brody » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:07 pm

Imperabo wrote:I don't know if I can out-endurance my dog, because he'd disappear over the horizon long before he ran out of gas. But perhaps my ancient ancestors were trappers.
I remember a Runners' World story from at least 10 years ago. A man ran marathons with his dog. I seem to recall him being a 3:00 marathon runner. One race, he separated from his dog at the start line. He ran the whole race looking for his dog. His dog ran the entire course and beat him by 30 minutes.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Roy » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:09 pm

MossySF wrote: If we need a coach to learn to run, then we weren't born to run.
Funny! We treat injuries from those who do various forms of athletic training, including serious weightlifting (using ART, Chiropractic, and other soft tissue work). By far, the most common chronic injuries we see come from the devoted runners, and this includes trained professionals—who also coach—competing in events that require frequent running (running that is more like jogging than brief sprinting, though).

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by DiscoBunny1979 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:18 pm

People people people. . .the article was about BIG BUTTS and how the muscles in the butt meant that were to be runners. That's just not true in my opinion. We were not meant for long distance running. Humans were meant to Walk, Climb, jump, and yes RUN, but not marathons. Marathons are bad for you. What's good is running short sprints and then walking. Then repeating. That's what cavemen did . . .they ran short distances and then walked. I'm sure that most stayed within a boundary of safety, that would prevent them from straying to far from a common area without being in conflict with another tribe. Therefore, running endless miles, I don't believe really happened that much. I'm not saying we shouldn't run at all . . but long distance running - that in which many did do . . like Hopi Indians running miles to put out their mythical rain sticks to ask to gods for rain or other spiritual significance still would be in minority in my opinion. We are talking about today, the modern human, that is incapable of doing what ancestors did because we no longer have the reasons to do it. Running a marathon might be able to be done, but in terms of today's fitness requirements, it doesn't mean its the best form of exercise even if the runner's high lasts for hours.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Imperabo » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:20 pm

HookEmBP wrote: Running shoes are the worst thing that has ever happened to running. More injuries occur with expensive shoes than cheap ones, with thicker shoes than thin ones, and the reason why so many Africans are dominant in long distance are because they learn to run without shoes. If we return to how we were built to run, truly astounding endurance feats would be achievable for every man and woman from youth to extreme old age. . . . . See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=826HMLoiE_o

So why are the African dudes chasing down antelope in that video all wearing shoes?

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by bertilak » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:24 pm

Imperabo wrote:I don't know if I can out-endurance my dog, because he'd disappear over the horizon long before he ran out of gas. But perhaps my ancient ancestors were trappers.
I know I can (well, could) outdistance my neighbor's dog. It enjoyed running along with me. It could run circles around me for a short distance, keep up for a bit more, then quit after a mile, perhaps even less. It would flop down on its belly panting and watch me disappear. I still had an easy five miles in me, 8 or 10 if I pushed it.

Even dogs that didn't know me and came out to chase me off didn't last long. They were probably at the edge of their territory, but they did show signs of tiring.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by kraftwerk » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:29 pm

3CT_Paddler wrote:
kraftwerk wrote: I don't think people were meant to live 50+ years.
What do you mean when you say that? Meant by whom? Are you suggesting the process of evolution has a "will" or brain? I would think any adaptation that extends life without sacrificing ability would be an advantageous one.
Animals adapt only as far as needed. We're only required to live long enough to ensure our offspring will survive on their own. There was never an evolutionary pressure to stay in good physical condition in to our 50s. There's no advantage to it, otherwise the less durable among us would have been filtered out by natural selection and pro athletes today would be working in to their 50s.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Roy » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:30 pm

Imperabo wrote:
HookEmBP wrote: Running shoes are the worst thing that has ever happened to running. More injuries occur with expensive shoes than cheap ones, with thicker shoes than thin ones, and the reason why so many Africans are dominant in long distance are because they learn to run without shoes. . . . See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=826HMLoiE_o

So why are the African dudes chasing down antelope in that video all wearing shoes?
This thread is hysterical.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by tludwig23 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:43 pm

DiscoBunny1979 wrote: We were not meant for long distance running. Humans were meant to Walk, Climb, jump, and yes RUN, but not marathons.
What, exactly, do you base this statement on?
DiscoBunny1979 wrote:...That's what cavemen did . . .they ran short distances and then walked.
There is plenty of evidence that humans ran long distances to chase down prey.
DiscoBunny1979 wrote:...We are talking about today, the modern human, that is incapable of doing what ancestors did because we no longer have the reasons to do it.
Irrelevant. Some people run much farther today than people ran a million years ago. People run across the entire United States, the entire Sahara desert.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by GregLee » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:44 pm

3CT_Paddler wrote:I would think any adaptation that extends life without sacrificing ability would be an advantageous one.
There is no evolutionary advantage to extending life past the age of reproduction. (Edit: Unless, perhaps, old people can help more children to survive.)
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by tludwig23 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:52 pm

GregLee wrote:
3CT_Paddler wrote:I would think any adaptation that extends life without sacrificing ability would be an advantageous one.
There is no evolutionary advantage to extending life past the age of reproduction.
Um, yes there is. The probability of survival of your offspring, and your offspring's offspring, etc., is increased by providing them with resources, protection, etc.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by dm200 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:59 pm

While I am a great believer in evolution affecting so many aspects of lefe, health, and so on --

I am a bit puzzled by the article's correlation with running and having a big butt -

Of all the serious runners I know or have seen, I can't recall ever seeing one with a big rear end! And by the logic of the big rear end and being a runner, then my wife would be competing in the Olympic marathon. :twisted: :wink:

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by tludwig23 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:07 pm

dm200 wrote:While I am a great believer in evolution affecting so many aspects of lefe, health, and so on --

I am a bit puzzled by the article's correlation with running and having a big butt -

Of all the serious runners I know or have seen, I can't recall ever seeing one with a big rear end! And by the logic of the big rear end and being a runner, then my wife would be competing in the Olympic marathon. :twisted: :wink:
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by GregLee » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:11 pm

DiscoBunny1979 wrote:Also, when was the last time you tried to run after, and actually catch, a wild animal by your bare hands? That's why humans created bow and arrow and other contraptions to catch prey.
Yes, but only recently. The article notes:
People tend to assume early hunting was made possible by weapons, he said, but our ancestors hunted for the last 2.6 million years, and the bow and arrow was invented only in the last 100,000 years. The stone-tipped spear was invented perhaps 300,000 years ago.
The evolutionary argument that we are still adapted to running is that, although we no longer need to run down prey, there hasn't been time for this capability to evolve away. The running adaptations are evolutionary hang overs.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by JupiterJones » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:12 pm

3CT_Paddler wrote:Running too much is anything but healthy.
Well yeah, running too much is unhealthy... if you define "too much" as "that point at which running becomes unhealthy". It's a tautology. :P

But running "not too much, but just enough" is among the healthiest things a person can do.
A lady at my work is about to go through her second hip surgery in the last year because she put too much stress on her ligaments/joints with long distance running and a bad CrossFit trainer.
A single piece of anecdotal evidence is a pretty lousy basis upon which to form a hypothesis.

Heck, maybe she'd be on her third hip surgery if she only did the bad CrossFit and not the distance running? (For all we know, the running strengthened the supporting muscles and helped increase her bone density to a beneficial degree, staving off more/worse problems.)

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Roy » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:15 pm

dm200 wrote:While I am a great believer in evolution affecting so many aspects of lefe, health, and so on --

I am a bit puzzled by the article's correlation with running and having a big butt -

Of all the serious runners I know or have seen, I can't recall ever seeing one with a big rear end! And by the logic of the big rear end and being a runner, then my wife would be competing in the Olympic marathon. :twisted: :wink:
Hope she's not following this thread!

While genetics plays a large role in the shapes of individuals, among the runners we treat and train, the more muscular thighs and more developed glutes belong to the few competitive adult sprinters we have.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by tludwig23 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:26 pm

JupiterJones wrote:A single piece of anecdotal evidence is a pretty lousy basis upon which to form a hypothesis.
Not to mention that the anecdote is entirely unrelated to her reproductive success.

Even if every active long distance runner needs a hip replacement at age 55, it does nothing to refute the hypothesis that the ability to run long distances conferred a selective advantage throughout much of human history.

Pheidippides reportedly died after running to Marathon. Where's the evolutionary advantage in that, huh? :roll:
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Imperabo » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:32 pm

tludwig23 wrote:
Even if every active long distance runner needs a hip replacement at age 55, it does nothing to refute the hypothesis that the ability to run long distances conferred a selective advantage throughout much of human history.

Are you saying that tribes would throw their crippled elders to the wolves rather than take on the burden of caring for them for 20+ years?

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Manbaerpig » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:35 pm

HookEmBP wrote:
DiscoBunny1979 wrote:We were born to walk or climb, not run. Sure there are those from African Nations that are great runners. . .but for the most part running is bad for the joints. Over time, the stress of impacting the joints causes a problems. It won't be noticed when young, but will be noticed as one ages.

Also, when was the last time you tried to run after, and actually catch, a wild animal by your bare hands? That's why humans created bow and arrow and other contraptions to catch prey.
This is incorrect. Humans have evolved to run vast distances over the course of ~3 million years, but modern running shoes have changed our gait in the last 40. Running shoes are the worst thing that has ever happened to running. More injuries occur with expensive shoes than cheap ones, with thicker shoes than thin ones, and the reason why so many Africans are dominant in long distance are because they learn to run without shoes. If we return to how we were built to run, truly astounding endurance feats would be achievable for every man and woman from youth to extreme old age. By running on two feet as opposed to 4, we are able to endurance run much better. Sweating also separates us from the herd for this and allows us to run down our prey. Persistence hunting (combined with tools and our intellect) enabled humans to reach the top of the food chain. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=826HMLoiE_o

I might buy your argument on the shoes, but I don't think there are many 4-legged mammals that we can out-end endurance-run. For instance just take a look at aerobic efficiency studies. A pack mule locked in a barn will have a greater v02 max than say Lance Armstrong. Same idea for dogs that get at least some exercise.

Sure man has some capacity for endurance, but lets not kid go overboard. We are basically one of the slowest mammals on the planet. Lets not confuse our peserverance with greater endurance capacity (see v02 max studies)

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by tludwig23 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:38 pm

Imperabo wrote:
tludwig23 wrote:
Even if every active long distance runner needs a hip replacement at age 55, it does nothing to refute the hypothesis that the ability to run long distances conferred a selective advantage throughout much of human history.

Are you saying that tribes would throw their crippled elders to the wolves rather than take on the burden of caring for them for 20+ years?
No, I'm not saying that, and quite frankly, I have no idea how you came up with such an idea.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Rodc » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:39 pm

Manbaerpig wrote:
HookEmBP wrote:
DiscoBunny1979 wrote:We were born to walk or climb, not run. Sure there are those from African Nations that are great runners. . .but for the most part running is bad for the joints. Over time, the stress of impacting the joints causes a problems. It won't be noticed when young, but will be noticed as one ages.

Also, when was the last time you tried to run after, and actually catch, a wild animal by your bare hands? That's why humans created bow and arrow and other contraptions to catch prey.
This is incorrect. Humans have evolved to run vast distances over the course of ~3 million years, but modern running shoes have changed our gait in the last 40. Running shoes are the worst thing that has ever happened to running. More injuries occur with expensive shoes than cheap ones, with thicker shoes than thin ones, and the reason why so many Africans are dominant in long distance are because they learn to run without shoes. If we return to how we were built to run, truly astounding endurance feats would be achievable for every man and woman from youth to extreme old age. By running on two feet as opposed to 4, we are able to endurance run much better. Sweating also separates us from the herd for this and allows us to run down our prey. Persistence hunting (combined with tools and our intellect) enabled humans to reach the top of the food chain. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=826HMLoiE_o

I might buy your argument on the shoes, but I don't think there are many 4-legged mammals that we can out-end endurance-run. For instance just take a look at aerobic efficiency studies. A pack mule locked in a barn will have a greater v02 max than say Lance Armstrong. Same idea for dogs that get at least some exercise.

Sure man has some capacity for endurance, but lets not kid go overboard. We are basically one of the slowest mammals on the planet. Lets not confuse our peserverance with greater endurance capacity (see v02 max studies)
That would seem ignore the ability to shed heat, which from what I (a total layman) read is a big factor in this.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by tludwig23 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:43 pm

Manbaerpig wrote:Same idea for dogs that get at least some exercise.
A. The domestic dog has been artificially selected by humans. Some have been selected for endurance.

B. The ancestor of the domestic dog, the wolf, has not traditionally been a prey item for humans.

C. There is ample evidence that native americans caught deer by a coordinated effort (by a group) to run the deer to exhaustion.

edit: fixed a typing error
Last edited by tludwig23 on Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:46 pm

JupiterJones wrote:
3CT_Paddler wrote:Running too much is anything but healthy.
Well yeah, running too much is unhealthy... if you define "too much" as "that point at which running becomes unhealthy". It's a tautology. :P

But running "not too much, but just enough" is among the healthiest things a person can do.
I agree... and I wasn't trying to say anything other than, you can have too much of a good thing. Some people are able to run marathons without injury or long term knee problems, but that doesn't mean that everybody should run marathons.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Manbaerpig » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:59 pm

tludwig23 wrote:
Manbaerpig wrote:Same idea for dogs that get at least some exercise.
A. The domestic dog has been artificially selected by humans. Some have been selected for endurance.

B. The ancestor of the domestic dog, the wolf, was not traditionally been a prey item for humans.

C. There is ample evidence that native americans caught deer by a coordinated effort (by a group) to run the deer to exhaustion.
is A as any kind of counterpoint? So what if we selected for/against certain traits in Dogs? My argument is that the typical dog has tremendously greater V02 max and a tremendously greater capacity for endurance.

B is awesome backup information. Is this a counterpoint?

C is a great argument for perserverance and teamwork, as I said. Lets take this as an example: the fastest marathoner on the planet is released somewhere in the pre-colombian plains. It should not come as any surprise that a tribe of determined humans working together could run him down eventually, and likely use terrain/etc to advantage and eventually surround him, regardless of whether or not the fastest marathoner could handily beat any of them over any set difference.
It's a whole different ballgame when you are being hunted, moreso if isolated.

man is the planets deadliest predator for a reason: we made our living not running down antelope rather taking down big game. Thats even more impressive

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by Imperabo » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:10 pm

tludwig23 wrote:
Imperabo wrote:
tludwig23 wrote:
Even if every active long distance runner needs a hip replacement at age 55, it does nothing to refute the hypothesis that the ability to run long distances conferred a selective advantage throughout much of human history.

Are you saying that tribes would throw their crippled elders to the wolves rather than take on the burden of caring for them for 20+ years?
No, I'm not saying that, and quite frankly, I have no idea how you came up with such an idea.

Survival of the fittest extends to the community. If the tribe can't endure then genes of the individual can't endure either. If you have to spend a great deal of your resources taking care of your crippled parents then obviously that reduces the odds of you successfully passing on your own genes.

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by GregLee » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:14 pm

Manbaerpig wrote: man is the planets deadliest predator for a reason: we made our living not running down antelope rather taking down big game.
If this is to be relevant to the born-to-run argument, we must have started taking down big game quite a long time ago.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by mlebuf » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:18 pm

greg24 wrote:I don't think joint stress was a concern when our forebears were dying by 25.
Excellent point.

I tried running when I was in my early 40's. After running a few blocks, my ankles and knees hurt like hell. I took that as a warning and for the next 10 years I walked for 45 minutes several times a week. No joint pain. In my early 50's I went to an indoor workout with a stationary bike and free-weights that I still do 3 times a week. I'm almost 70 and have no pain and in my knees and ankles.

I know several people who began running in their teens and 20's. In their 40's they had knee replacement surgery. What's good for the cardiovascular system isn't always good for the joints. On the other hand, I had a friend who ran frequently for most of his life and lived to be 91 with no joint surgeries. In his 80's he switched from running to walking. My personal experience is that low-impact exercise (walking, cycling, rowing, swimming, etc.) is the way to go.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by tludwig23 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:28 pm

Manbaerpig wrote:
tludwig23 wrote:
Manbaerpig wrote:Same idea for dogs that get at least some exercise.
A. The domestic dog has been artificially selected by humans. Some have been selected for endurance.

B. The ancestor of the domestic dog, the wolf, was not traditionally been a prey item for humans.

C. There is ample evidence that native americans caught deer by a coordinated effort (by a group) to run the deer to exhaustion.
is A as any kind of counterpoint?
Yes, it is a counterpoint in the sense that you pointed out that humans have less endurance than an artificially selected animal that did not factor into our evolution. If anything, we used dogs (which we bred for speed and endurance) to help us catch prey. Maybe I don't understand your original point. The fact that there are animals with greater VO2 max than humans in no way refutes the hypothesis that humans have been selected to run long distances.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by lightheir » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:33 pm

This thread has so much misinformation that I feel obligated to chime in.

I'm an MD. MSK Radiologist, so I know my injuries and see them on a daily basis - up close and personal. From nonathletes (most) to pro athletes in the NFL. I have run seriously for 15 years, including 10 marathons, several nearly sub-3hrs, and have run up to 100miles per week in training, and not just once. Am not genetically blessed whatsoever (was the weakest/strongest kid in elementary school) but have trained my way to being a solid runner, so I know the reality of training hard for results.

1) There is no data showing that if you run "X" miles or years, you will inevitably get joint disease. In fact, studies are showing the opposite - run a moderate amount, and you seem to have a healthier joint for the long run. (Nobody has done good studies on running a competitive amount, so even that might be defensible in terms of health.) For sure, I do not see a preponderance of knee disease and degeneration in runners. It's exactly as the study shows - mostly from people who are almost always sedentary, then perhaps do a weekend sport and get injured. The really chronic end stage knees I see are also usually not from runners, and mostly from sedentary people. I am sure I would have noticed if there were even a slightly increased percent of runners getting degenerate knees vs others. (I actually do notice that NFL football players get a disproprotionate of much, much earlier shoulder degeneration, likely from the big impacts.)

2) VO2 has little to do with long endurance capacity as per evolutionary endurance theories such as the one published in Nature a few years ago about how humans evolved to 'go long' to hunt for prey. VO2 is used for a 20 minute max burst of high speed, like a 5k distance run. Once you're over 30 minutes, your VO2 plays an ever decreasing role, and by 60 minutes, your aerobic system is more important to keep going. Take it out to a 30+ mile distance (like an African hunt) where you're walk/running, and VO2 is nearly irrelevant. Humans can uniquely use intellect to track prey over very long distances, and they can pace themselves correctly to take down even fast quadripeds, who might over-run their efforts for a few miles, but then be caught if doggedly chased for much further. We're not the best in terms of sheer endurance, but it's shocking how far we can run - there are plenty of recreational 'century' runners who run 100 miles at a time, and aren't particularly amazing athletes. VO2 determines your top speed at hard aerobic efforts, but doesn't dictate your distance capacity whatsoever.

3) There is no data thus far showing that modern running shoes cause more injuries than barefoot or minimalist shoes. There is an entire Harvard website devoted to minimalist running and toe-striking, and they repeatedly say in bold, that there is no data showing that their 'african' running methods cause less injuries than modern shoes. I myself have adopted minimalist shoes, as I agree that modern shoes are based little on science and almost entirely on marketing, but I'm under no illusion that I'm going faster or running safer. (I like that I get more consistency with shoe models with minimalist shoes.)

4) For sure, the reason why Africans are so fast has nothing to do with lack of shoes. In fact, in Africa, in the running circles, it is considered a serious disadvantage now to NOT have shoes, so much so that there are entire shoe donation banks collecting discarded shoes from the US to give to aspiring runners and youths in Africa so they can run (not just so they have shoes to walk around in.) They run so fast largely because of favorable genetics more than anything else. The myth of African kids running 10 miles a day to school and back to become world champions pale are just myths. Yes, they might actually do that, but there are a good number of kids in the US who have been coached from youth for years doing more than this and never approach African levels. America's top marathoner, Ryan Hall, pretty much showed up at his first x-country race as a middle schooler and dominated from day one. No crazy mileage background, no starting from age 4, etc. Just sheer talent. Very few top runners really got world-class by just out-training anyone else or starting at an earlier age. You can do that to get to state, possibly even national-class, but not world class. Genetics all the way for that.


5) Get out there and run (unless you've already had knee surgery.) It's good for you. It's supposed to hurt and be sore if you haven't done it for awhile, but build up slow, and enjoy the great health benefits that are more physiologic than any other endurance activity you can do. (Running is hard-wired in our cerebellum/spinal cord reflexes - don't even need to think about it when you do it.)

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by tludwig23 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:35 pm

Imperabo wrote:
tludwig23 wrote:
Imperabo wrote:
tludwig23 wrote:
Even if every active long distance runner needs a hip replacement at age 55, it does nothing to refute the hypothesis that the ability to run long distances conferred a selective advantage throughout much of human history.

Are you saying that tribes would throw their crippled elders to the wolves rather than take on the burden of caring for them for 20+ years?
No, I'm not saying that, and quite frankly, I have no idea how you came up with such an idea.

Survival of the fittest extends to the community. If the tribe can't endure then genes of the individual can't endure either. If you have to spend a great deal of your resources taking care of your crippled parents then obviously that reduces the odds of you successfully passing on your own genes.
Yes, that's true. There are always trade offs. Our big heads have often lead to problems related to childbirth. However our big brains have been largely responsible for our evolutionary success.
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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by englishgirl » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:04 pm

lightheir wrote:This thread has so much misinformation that I feel obligated to chime in.

I'm an MD. MSK Radiologist, so I know my injuries and see them on a daily basis - up close and personal. From nonathletes (most) to pro athletes in the NFL. I have run seriously for 15 years, including 10 marathons, several nearly sub-3hrs, and have run up to 100miles per week in training, and not just once. Am not genetically blessed whatsoever (was the weakest/strongest kid in elementary school) but have trained my way to being a solid runner, so I know the reality of training hard for results.

1) There is no data showing that if you run "X" miles or years, you will inevitably get joint disease. In fact, studies are showing the opposite - run a moderate amount, and you seem to have a healthier joint for the long run. (Nobody has done good studies on running a competitive amount, so even that might be defensible in terms of health.) For sure, I do not see a preponderance of knee disease and degeneration in runners. It's exactly as the study shows - mostly from people who are almost always sedentary, then perhaps do a weekend sport and get injured. The really chronic end stage knees I see are also usually not from runners, and mostly from sedentary people. I am sure I would have noticed if there were even a slightly increased percent of runners getting degenerate knees vs others. (I actually do notice that NFL football players get a disproprotionate of much, much earlier shoulder degeneration, likely from the big impacts.)

2) VO2 has little to do with long endurance capacity as per evolutionary endurance theories such as the one published in Nature a few years ago about how humans evolved to 'go long' to hunt for prey. VO2 is used for a 20 minute max burst of high speed, like a 5k distance run. Once you're over 30 minutes, your VO2 plays an ever decreasing role, and by 60 minutes, your aerobic system is more important to keep going. Take it out to a 30+ mile distance (like an African hunt) where you're walk/running, and VO2 is nearly irrelevant. Humans can uniquely use intellect to track prey over very long distances, and they can pace themselves correctly to take down even fast quadripeds, who might over-run their efforts for a few miles, but then be caught if doggedly chased for much further. We're not the best in terms of sheer endurance, but it's shocking how far we can run - there are plenty of recreational 'century' runners who run 100 miles at a time, and aren't particularly amazing athletes. VO2 determines your top speed at hard aerobic efforts, but doesn't dictate your distance capacity whatsoever.

3) There is no data thus far showing that modern running shoes cause more injuries than barefoot or minimalist shoes. There is an entire Harvard website devoted to minimalist running and toe-striking, and they repeatedly say in bold, that there is no data showing that their 'african' running methods cause less injuries than modern shoes. I myself have adopted minimalist shoes, as I agree that modern shoes are based little on science and almost entirely on marketing, but I'm under no illusion that I'm going faster or running safer. (I like that I get more consistency with shoe models with minimalist shoes.)

4) For sure, the reason why Africans are so fast has nothing to do with lack of shoes. In fact, in Africa, in the running circles, it is considered a serious disadvantage now to NOT have shoes, so much so that there are entire shoe donation banks collecting discarded shoes from the US to give to aspiring runners and youths in Africa so they can run (not just so they have shoes to walk around in.) They run so fast largely because of favorable genetics more than anything else. The myth of African kids running 10 miles a day to school and back to become world champions pale are just myths. Yes, they might actually do that, but there are a good number of kids in the US who have been coached from youth for years doing more than this and never approach African levels. America's top marathoner, Ryan Hall, pretty much showed up at his first x-country race as a middle schooler and dominated from day one. No crazy mileage background, no starting from age 4, etc. Just sheer talent. Very few top runners really got world-class by just out-training anyone else or starting at an earlier age. You can do that to get to state, possibly even national-class, but not world class. Genetics all the way for that.

5) Get out there and run (unless you've already had knee surgery.) It's good for you. It's supposed to hurt and be sore if you haven't done it for awhile, but build up slow, and enjoy the great health benefits that are more physiologic than any other endurance activity you can do. (Running is hard-wired in our cerebellum/spinal cord reflexes - don't even need to think about it when you do it.)
Great post, lightheir, thank you for that. It's good to see a clear response from someone who keeps up with the studies in this area.

I am slowly building up my running mileage, and really enjoying it, unlike the countless other times I have tried it. I think now that I have read Born to Run, I feel like I really can do this, because this is what I was made to do, whereas every other time I listened to the people who said it was terrible for your joints, and always got scared.
Sarah

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Re: Humans born to run, evolutionary biologists say

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:18 pm

lightheir - Also, thanks. From what I've been told, running is the only exercise that utilizes every muscle in the human body. It also doesn't need any form of specialized equipment - you don't need shoes to run, but it helps. (The design of running shoes is discussed ad-nauseum in other threads.)

One other point - be sure you stretch before and after the run. The joints might be fine, but you need to get the muscles, tendons, and ligaments prepared. Stretching protects against potential injury as well as providing a gradual cool-down after the run.
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