It turns out that shorter people burn more calories than taller people when they run the same distance as the tall person. It seems that they would because that they take shorter strides means that they would have to take more steps to cover the same distance. Now a study published in the November 12, 2010 issue of <em>Journal of Experimental Biology</em> concludes exactly that. Apparently, it has long been known that shorter people use more energy per pound of body weight while walking, but the reasons were not known. The reasons have become much clearer.
The study had subjects walk on treadmills at speeds from about a mile per hour to over four miles per hour. The subjects weighed between 35 and 195 pounds and were between about four and six feet in height. The researchers measured how much oxygen the subjects used and measured their stride and calculated their metabolic rate. As expected, the subjects expended about the same amount of energy for each stride they took. But from the data they collected, the researchers also developed anequation that added a person’s weight as a variable to determine how much energy people actually use while walking.
This new equation could be used in many ways. One of these is the calorie counter on treadmills, elliptical trainers, and other exercise equipment, where the user’s body size can provide a more accurate reading. Wait, you say. How have these calorie counters counted in the past if they didn’t take into account to user’s body weight? Apparently, they did, but through a less sophisticated formula. The equipment manufacturers do not publish this information, so this remains a mystery. If you’ve ever wondered how the heck a machine can count calories burned while you’re using it, know you know the secret – they don’t! Pedometers could be improved in a similar way. Perhaps the army could also more accurately calculate how much energy soldiers expend, and therefore how any calories they need, while carrying different-sized loads.
So it seems that, back when getting somewhere by foot to find food was more important, being tall was more of an advantage than it is now, because tall people would burn fewer calories to accomplish the same goal. Of course, these days we don’t move much and have more than enough food. A lot of us just want to lose weight. Maybe the shorties will prevail after all. At least they can spend less time on their <a target=”_new” rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.treadmill-world.com”>exercise equipment</a> to achieve the same result.
The study’s results also helps explain why children tire more quickly than adults while out for a walk. The study show that children walk in the same physiological way that adults do, regardless of height. Thus, taller people do not use less energy simply because they walk differently.
The study was conducted by Peter Weyand, of Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Maurice Puyau and Nancy Butte of the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine.