The Evolution of Running
If you are wondering why the evolution of running is a subject that needs dwelling into, mentioning the current figures of the industry will offer insight into the significance of running.
In 2019 the road running industry had a value of nearly $2 billion in the US, with a total of 1,100 marathons arranged annually in the country. Additionally, researchers concluded that running does not merely lead to bone strengthening and improving knee health. Instead, any runner that picks up the pace for 30 minutes also experiences improvements in their overall mood. According to Statistica, in 2017, around 60 million people in the US participated in some form of running sport, and this is considering just one country.
An online survey revealed that most people today take up running as a weight loss form or to gain improved health. 55% of the surveyed people revealed that they run because they find it fun to do, while 62% stated that this activity helps in relieving their stress.
So if running offers so many benefits and people acknowledge it as well, investigation on its development is in line. Though many people have investigated facts such as whether we as humans evolved to run or did we adapted to running as it has been an essential part of our history, especially in terms of hunting and staying alive.
History of Running
776BC – Running was first recognized as a sport in the first Olympics in the form of a foot race.
490 BC – Pheidippides, a Greek soldier, served as a courier running from Marathon city to Athens city, around 25 miles, to deliver the news of victory in the Battle of Marathon over the Persians. However, as the story unfolds, since he had no training professionally for this kind of extensive physical exertion, he soon collapses and dies almost instantly. This is the first-ever account of a marathon run in history.
1896 – First ever international Olympics games held the ‘marathon’ to commemorate Pheidippides. This marathon also considered the distance the unsung running hero covered at 24.85 miles on the original track.
1908 – The marathon started for the first time at 26.2 miles.
1972 – Considered as the running boom of the 70’s with around 25 million individuals taking up running as a hobby.
1984 – The first official women’s marathon is organized
2019 – More than 1100 marathons are organized annually in the US alone.
The Primitive Human
Fossil evidence from the past reveals that humans evolved from their tree-hanging ancestors to joggers over 2 million years ago. Some very distinctive features found in the primitive human fossil indicate that certain physical traits slowly evolved, making them distance runners. The adaptations that occurred gradually allowed them to run long distances and faster than other carnivores in the African open plains to hunt down prey and save themselves from predators.
Running is the most transforming event in the history of humans, as researchers associate it with the evolution of humans as we know them today.
Running From Australopithecus to Homo Erectus
Australopithecus, our apelike ancestors, could not run and were more adept in swinging around from tree to tree, which was the standard mode of travel at that time. With the physical transitions that took place leading to the early hominids, humans could stand erect (Homo erectus) and walk (Homo habilis), which was when running evolved gradually. Humans got their long legs compared to their body mass some 1.8 million years ago.
The fossils study of primitive man revealed that hominids developed spring like long tendons that stored energy and aided through lowering the metabolic cost of running, resulting in longer distances without tiring out. Additionally, long legs aid endurance running as speed is achievable through the length of strides and not by the rate of strides. Researchers believe that hominids ran long and fast over time, following their prey for miles endlessly until the prey would fall exhausted, and the hunter would kill it and feast on it for a week.
Modern Day Humans And Running
Considering humans today, the common concept is that humans are unaccomplished runners when compared to other mammals that can run fast and long.
Bramble, the co-author of a new study on running published in ‘Nature’, the science journal, reveals; that humans’ running abilities are much higher as they can do much more than commonly assumed. The study shows that athletic humans can outrun antelopes and horses by covering long distances. It is a combination of exceptional endurance and reasonable speed. Pieces of evidence of such happenings are seen in some African parts, where hunters even today exhaust their prey before finally hunting them down.
Running For Fitness and Health
Running prevents diseases by keeping the body processes healthy, eliminates depression, relieves stress, and offers several similar benefits. Jogging and running today primarily help toward improving overall health. It helps to raise good cholesterol levels while aiding lung functions. It also boosts the immune system and lowers the risk of blood clotting.
Running For Weight Loss
Though health benefit is a significant advantage that we obtain from running, losing weight is another benefit in maintaining weight and burning calories per minute. It enhances the metabolism and burns fat in your body leading to weight loss. Many individuals in this activity today do so for its weight loss or maintenance benefits.
Besides the fact that running burns fat and calories, a 30 minute long intense physical run leads the body to enter the Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) mode, where the body utilizes its carbohydrate and fat reserves to restore itself to a pre-exercise state. This phase can last from 15 minutes to 24 hours, helping in weight loss or maintenance.
Though running is no more a feat for survival by humans and our current lifestyle has almost eliminated it from our daily schedules. However, time again, we must remember the fact that our physical structure is suitable for running. It is also essential for us to follow our natural biological instinct to stay healthy and adequately functional.
So how much do you run daily or weekly? If you miss out on this vital feat, gather up today and start running!
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