Mechanical Work Accounts for Most of the Energetic Cost in Human Running release_vdhp6eusvfgmhd3icwfkcqwraq

by Ryan Riddick, AD Kuo

Released as a post by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

2020  

Abstract

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title>The metabolic cost of human running is challenging to explain, in part because direct measurements of muscles are limited in availability. Active muscle work costs substantial energy, but series elastic tissues such as tendon may also perform work while muscles contract isometrically at a lower cost. While it is unclear to what extent muscle vs. series elastic work occurs, there are indirect data that can help resolve their relative contributions to the cost of running. We therefore developed a simple cost estimate for muscle work in humans running (N = 8) at moderate speeds based on measured joint energetics. We found that even if 50% of the work observed at the joints is performed passively, active muscle work still accounts for 76% of the net energetic cost. Up to 24% of this cost due is required to compensate for dissipation from soft tissue deformations. The cost of active work may be further adjusted based on assumptions of multi-articular energy transfer and passive elasticity, but even the most conservative assumptions yield active work costs of at least 60%. Passive elasticity can greatly reduce the active work of running, but muscle work still explains most of the overall energetic cost.
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Date   2020-09-22
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