How fast will people be able to run?

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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How fast will people be able to run?
« on: 15/05/2005 23:15:31 »
There must come a time when a man runs as fast as it is possible to. Obviously, it would be impossible to just keep running faster & faster ad infinitum or eventually a race would be run in zero time.
Performance, as far as I am aware, is goverened by muscle strength & endurance, length and speed of stride, & how efficiently oxygen is circulated around the body.
Theoretically, there is always room for strength to increase & as man gets taller the length of stride will increase. I would suppose that speed of stride would eventually reach a limit as one couldn't take an infinite amount of strides per second.
So, is it circulation of oxygen and/or speed of stride that will prove the ultimate barrier to greater speed, or are other factors involved?

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Offline neilep

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #1 on: 16/05/2005 00:21:40 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

There must come a time when a man runs as fast as it is possible to.
It wasn't me - a big boy did it & ran away




Surely 'NOW' is always the time that a man can run as fast as it is possible !!...it's the ability to improve upon that, which is in question here yes ?

As long as humans need to run I have no doubt that the speed of running will increase. Of course it will never reach the extremes of near infinite strides per second, but as humans evolve, so will the training methods and exercises.

If the need to run did not exist ie: for exercise ,competition , chase, escape !!...etc, then eventually the velocity of 'fleet of foot' would diminish and we'd all become sloths !!

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« Last Edit: 16/05/2005 00:22:54 by neilep »
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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #2 on: 16/05/2005 22:18:45 »
Neil - I appreciate what you're saying but I think you've missed the point of my question: that being "What will be the limiting factor on how fast a man can run?"

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Offline neilep

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #3 on: 16/05/2005 22:49:48 »
Missed the point ?...it probably ran right over me....think I'll stick to asking questions rather than answering them.......but I do get the point now. Cripes , I'm such a dufus head sometimes, but in my defence, I'm generally on this site totally shattered !!....is it working ? am I getting the sympathy vote yet ?

Anyway, perhaps it'll be the efficiency of the lungs as you mentioned, or the capcity to take oxygen in or the limitations of the muscles, or the ability to deal with the shock absorption.....hey !..at least I tried to answer.

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #4 on: 17/05/2005 00:49:46 »
Neil - shock absorption was a point I hadn't considered. Do you not think, though, that as muscle/sinew strength increases and the force on joints & bones gets greater as a result, they may become able to take more shock?
And judging by the knowledgable & informative postings I've read of yours I would say you're far from being a dufus head! (whatever 1 of those is). No sympathy vote, though... sorry.
P.S. And can't you even pick your cups up from the floor? TUT! heh

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Offline neilep

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #5 on: 17/05/2005 11:38:03 »
Eth,thank you for your kind words, you're very generous.

I have no doubt that shock apsorption will increase, to benefit exercise and physical activity of all sorts. I strongly believe that we are still evolving though some people here disagree.......unless we destroy ourselves, I have no doubt that the body will adapt accordingly. Maybe the process has slowed down somewhat due to the world we live in today where technology plays such a momentous part in our every day lives and we are left with less fending for ourselves as we have historically, but I think one must have a closed mind to suggest that there's no room for improvement.

I suspect wear and tear on the joints and the muscles would be a substantial factor in the ability to run faster, jump further and higher etc etc.......lets hope we get some more answers. I'm fascinated by all this, thanks for the great question Eth.

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #6 on: 17/05/2005 12:02:08 »
I thought it was uncontestable (incontestable?) that humans are still evolving. For instance, fewer & fewer people now grow wisdom teeth. What apart from evolution could explain that?

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Offline neilep

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #7 on: 17/05/2005 12:42:15 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

I thought it was uncontestable (incontestable?) that humans are still evolving. For instance, fewer & fewer people now grow wisdom teeth. What apart from evolution could explain that?

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Absolutely correct, that is evolution happening right before your eyes, well, inside your gob anyway !!..and I suspect there are many other instances like that happening within our bodies now......

There have been a few debates on this forum about evolution, here's one http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=973&whichpage=1&SearchTerms=evolution,evolving

Oh, if some words are highlited in yellow it's because I've coiped and pasted the results of the 'search' thread I just did.

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #8 on: 17/05/2005 19:01:06 »
Neil - I just read that link. I must say, I'd never previously thought of gaining immunity to a disease as being evolutionary: but I suppose it must be.
I believe that 1 evolutionary step mankind, and indeed every animal on the planet, will need to effect is to adapt to a different make-up to the atmosphere. If CO & CO2 levels continue to increase surely some kind of physiological change will eventually become necessary.

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Offline neilep

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #9 on: 18/05/2005 17:18:56 »
Now that's a good point Eth....perhaps we'll all eventually return to the sea too....but regarding your point, I wonder if animal-kind (including us) will be able to adapt to the changing atmosphere at the rate it is indeed changing !

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Offline Ultima

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #10 on: 18/05/2005 19:06:09 »
Nah we would adapt the environment in the case of CO2 since its happening way to fast for us to adapt biologically, so itís get green or die...

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Offline neilep

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #11 on: 18/05/2005 19:16:58 »
quote:
Originally posted by Ultima

Nah we would adapt the environment in the case of CO2 since its happening way to fast for us to adapt biologically, so itís get green or die...

wOw the world spins?



How do you think we'll do it Matt ? especially if time is of the essence........I've seen some big air con units, but none that big !!

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Offline daveshorts

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #12 on: 18/05/2005 20:16:46 »
I think global warming is about moving the CO2 level from .04 to .08% we breathe out CO2 at 5% so to get CO2 to dangerous physilogical levels the climate would have gone completely haywire and we would be pretty screwed anyway.


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Offline DrN

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #13 on: 19/05/2005 12:41:48 »
I'm wondering if there would be a maximum speed, thinking biologically here for a minute. most things have 'optimums' e.g. enzyme activity, most work best at 37 C, so cooler or warmer temps both reduce activity. thinking along these lines wouldn't it be likely that there really is an optimum muscle performance, lung capacity, oxygen exchange etc.

by the way - is it really a fact that fewer people grow wisdom teeth? I think pretty much everyone I know has them, or has had one or more removed!

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Offline neilep

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #14 on: 19/05/2005 17:41:50 »
...maybe as we evolve our 'optimums' may evolve too perhaps ?

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #15 on: 20/05/2005 11:49:34 »
Lindsay - yes, the wisdom tooth thing is a fact

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Offline realmswalker

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #16 on: 21/05/2005 03:46:47 »
quote:

Surely 'NOW' is always the time that a man can run as fast as it is possible !!...it's the ability to improve upon that, which is in question here yes ?

As long as humans need to run I have no doubt that the speed of running will increase. Of course it will never reach the extremes of near infinite strides per second, but as humans evolve, so will the training methods and exercises.

If the need to run did not exist ie: for exercise ,competition , chase, escape !!...etc, then eventually the velocity of 'fleet of foot' would diminish and we'd all become sloths !!




that is an incorrect view of evolution i believe...
For humans to evolve faster and faster the fastest runners would have to have the ability to produce more offspring after mating with an another fast person...
fast humans do not make more kids so in general the human race will not continue getting faster through evolution.
Your idea of evolution seems to be more of Darwins friends (whose name escapes me) that says the use of a certain element makes it stronger and causes it to increase in strength...
According to how i learned evoltion thats not how it works...i might be wrong though...or perhaps you have an explanation
 

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Offline neilep

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #17 on: 21/05/2005 12:09:13 »
As the art of exercsising and training improves, then the body acts accordingly to react to that input. Therfore the body will improve too, this will then be passed on to the next generation. Isn't that what evolution is ? adaptation to the environment based on external influence and changing circumstance ? Why would one evolve if there was no impetus ?

just curious, why do "fast humans not make more kids in general" ? is it because they can't be caught to do the deed ?

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #18 on: 21/05/2005 13:06:12 »
Realmswalker - I'm not sure that argument is pertinent. You only have to look at world & Olympic records to see that man is running quicker & it's not just the offspring of record-holders who are running faster. Therefore, it's not simply fast runners breeding that is responsible.

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Offline realmswalker

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #19 on: 22/05/2005 02:45:18 »
well just because running speed has been going up does not mean that humans are "evolving" faster, since for that to be occuring there would have to be some force killing of the slower people, which isnt happening anymore (in the wild maybe it could happen)
Besides it wouldnt be possible for any animals to evolve in such a short span of time...
humans arent evolving anymore i believe, we have reached genetic equilibrium more or less. We all have close to the same chance to reprocduce, we all reproduce about the same amount also (people who are more fit dont have 10 kids and stuff). The weak are kept alive and reproduce, there is equal transportation among the worlds population (almost) so people from japan might mate with peopel from newyork...
 

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Offline neilep

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #20 on: 22/05/2005 03:50:15 »
I have to disagree Realmswalker, slower people are still living because we're sentient beings and the premise 'only the strong survive' I feel does not apply to us humnas as it may do in the non sentient animal kingdom where the fight for survival is far more competitive....but that does not mean we are not evolving.

It's quite possible that Humans who perform different tasks in their everyday life will evolve their own special skills that another group may not...A mathematician may evolve a better understanding of numbers , so will be more adept and astute, a carpenter will evolve enhanced dexterity , athletes will evolve a physical prowess and balance....and when one meets the other....hey presto !!..a new generation of fast running carpenters etc .....Evolution is Mental as well as Physical.....

Of course we are evolving, there can be no doubt.....I think one would have a closed mind to put to rest that there's no further development of Humankind.

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Offline daveshorts

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #21 on: 22/05/2005 16:38:58 »
Be careful with your definition of evolution - it only works over populations and over many generations - if you had a community of carpenters over a few thousand years and the people who were bad carpenters left the community, then this may evolve a breed of expert carpenters, however evolution can't happen in a single generation.
« Last Edit: 22/05/2005 17:44:46 by daveshorts »

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Offline neilep

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #22 on: 22/05/2005 17:04:45 »
quote:
Originally posted by daveshorts

Be careful with your definition of evolution - it only works over populations and over many generations -


yea i know...my apologies if I implied or inferred that evolution was noticeable with each generation.....

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #23 on: 23/05/2005 10:06:14 »
I know a carpenter who ran pretty fast when I pointed out that he'd botched the job!

My initial question was not really about evolution, we seem to have got side-tracked. Not that that's a bad thing as it demonstrates how threads can "evolve". I thank you!
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Offline memasa

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #24 on: 12/06/2005 17:17:05 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

'What will be the limiting factor on how fast a man can run?'


Answer: obesity

"Obesity in western society is quite readily explained by evolutionary principles.  For most of human evolution, obtaining sufficient food and nutrition was a daily battle, and daily life was physically rigorous.  Thus, the human body become highly efficient at storing excess energy from excess food intake.  However, the dramatic cultural evolution in Western lifestyles has made copious amounts of food readily available at the same time as reducing physical daily demands to very low levels.  The result is that people in Western society are now exhibiting all-time record levels of obesity and related eating disorders.  61% of Americans are overweight or obese - what's more - the incidence of obesity increased 61% in the period from 1991 to 2000.  Likewise Australia is one of the most obese countries in the world, with obesity in children increasing by 100% in the past 10 years; 25% of Australian children are overweight or obese.  Obviously obesity is not particularly adaptive, but cultural evolution has outstripped genetic evolution, giving rise to this phenomenon (Feist & Feist, 2002)."

Source: http://www.wilderdom.com/personality/L7-1EvolutionaryPsychology.html
« Last Edit: 12/06/2005 20:52:18 by memasa »
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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #25 on: 13/06/2005 16:25:30 »
In most cases obesity is caused by nothing other than sheer greed
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Offline rosy

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #26 on: 13/06/2005 16:48:38 »
Well, maybe so... but I think the point being made in the quote above is that greed didn't used to be much of a problem when the resources to satisfy it weren't available. Infact, being able to eat as much as was available when it *was* available would stand you in good stead for the lean times, meaning your genes were more likely to get back into the gene pool... you had a buffer against starvation.
Now, however, in the Western world, food is no longer (in the majority of cases) a limiting factor so that it has become much easier to get unheathily fat (without being Henry VIII).
Greed has ceased to be, evolutionarily, a good thing.

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Offline memasa

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #27 on: 14/06/2005 10:34:10 »
Rosy: That is exactly what I meant!!!
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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #28 on: 14/06/2005 11:24:59 »
I also dispute the figures. There has been a lot on British TV lately about obesity. 1 report stated that 1 in 3 schoolchildren is obese. I did my own little bit of research on that. I picked up my friend's 10yo daughter from school & as the children came out I counted how many there were & how many looked overweight. Out of the 300+ children that I saw I counted 53 who looked overweight & a further 21 who looked obese. OK, I accept that's not very scientific but just walking round my local town & observing, I reckon those figures were about average for this area (Suffolk). So, by my reckoning it's not 1 in 3 who are obese but rather 1 in 15 & 1 in 6 may be overweight. Even allowing for local variation, that's a big difference.
Also, the most common method used to classify people as obese is a total nonsense. Height to weight has very little bearing on whether a person is obese. You only have to look at body-builders or professional rugby players to see how absurd it is. I used to play rugby & practice martial arts in my earlier days. At my peak I stood 5'9" & weighed just over 12st. That means I would've been classed as obese by today's reckonings yet there was hardly an ounce of fat on me.
Finally, the government figures contradict something else that they claim to be a serious worry - that children are trying too hard to be thin like pop stars & models. How can that be reconciled with their claims about obesity?
« Last Edit: 14/06/2005 11:52:09 by DoctorBeaver »
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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #29 on: 14/06/2005 11:45:45 »
I do, however, take your point about evolution - but qualifyingly. Many animals in the wild gorge themselves whenever they can as insurance against hard times (lions & hyenas being prime examples). Such behaviour can also be witnessed in domestic dogs (in my experience, mainly among males or pregnant females). Nonetheless, there are also many examples of wild animals eating only a sufficient amount & saving the remainder. For instance leopards take their catch up into a tree, eat what they want & keep the rest. Crocodilians also keep a "larder".
Throughout human history there have been slim, average & fat people. Food is certainly more plentiful these days (in the Western world, at least) & cheap enough that no-one need go hungry. If obesity were a purely evolutionary thing then it would be the rule rather than the exception. People are far more sedentary now than in the past so our energy output is reduced. Obesity is caused by eating more than is required for the amount of energy one expends - & that is greed. As Rosy stated so eloquently "Greed has ceased to be, evolutionarily, a good thing"
I would, however, contest 1 of the points made - that being obese meant one was more likely to pass on one's genes to the next generation. If present axioms are indeed correct and obesity can cause impotence & early death, obesity would be self-defeating and those genes would have less chance of being passed on.
« Last Edit: 14/06/2005 11:55:24 by DoctorBeaver »
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Offline rosy

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #30 on: 14/06/2005 14:31:04 »
quote:
that being obese meant one was more likely to pass on one's genes to the next generation

Ah, sorry... I wasn't at all suggesting that obesity was an evolutionary advantage, rather that the tendancy to eat heavily when food was available might be of use if food were in general scarce and became occasionally and in large quantities. Certainly obesity itself is going to lead to poor reproductive performance overall, but sometimes tendancies which now lead to obesity and so are negative might have been less unfortunate in less overprovided times.

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Offline realmswalker

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #31 on: 19/06/2005 08:19:05 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep

As the art of exercsising and training improves, then the body acts accordingly to react to that input. Therfore the body will improve too, this will then be passed on to the next generation. Isn't that what evolution is ? adaptation to the environment based on external influence and changing circumstance ? Why would one evolve if there was no impetus ?

just curious, why do "fast humans not make more kids in general" ? is it because they can't be caught to do the deed ?

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!


no that lamarks theory of evolution...which is wrong...
Darwins correct theory says that animals have natural variation, through mutations and the like,(some run a little faster than others for example..) and that if running faster provides the ability to produce more offspring (aka be more fitted to the enviroment) that trait wille ventually become predominat, voilla, evolution.
Lamarks theory says that if you use an appendage it becomes stronger (for example if you practice running alot youll become stranger in it, this is true) and then you pass that trait down to your kids. This is incorrect however, if it were true why wouldnt body builders children come out all muscley? A fast runner might pass along speed genes to his children but he cannot improve nor create those speed genes by running...
No, humans are not evolving faster, as speed in the current enviroment does not infer a benefit upon reproduction. Perhaps we're increasing inspeed due physcological factor (each time the record becomes higher people know they must train harder to break it)...
 

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Offline memasa

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #32 on: 22/06/2005 19:59:37 »
quote:
[...]each time the record becomes higher people know they must train harder to break it[...]


Unfortunately, some also manufacture doping for those top atheletes willing to break an "unbreakable" record. But, hey, it's probably big business...
And since I've been talking a lot about genes lately ([:)]) I can't help but mention the possibility of genetically engineered top atheletes. So, it is conceivable that some people will run a helluva lot faster in the future.
« Last Edit: 22/06/2005 20:11:03 by memasa »
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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #33 on: 23/06/2005 05:37:56 »
Memasa - I have no doubt that people will be able to run faster. My question was about what physiological constraints will determine the limit?
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Offline memasa

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #34 on: 23/06/2005 09:23:42 »
[:I]
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Offline ukmicky

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Re: How fast will people be able to run?
« Reply #35 on: 25/06/2005 03:25:56 »
Originally posted by neilep

"As the art of exercising and training improves, then the body acts accordingly to react to that input. Therefore the body will improve too, this will then be passed on to the next generation. Isn't that what evolution is ? Adaptation to the environment based on external influence and changing circumstance? Why would one evolve if there was no impetus?"

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Are we running faster now due to improved muscle response or is more to do with better equiptment such as improved track surface, running shoes, clothing , more accurate timing devices etc.  I very much doubt the human body can go much faster and unless evolution plays its hand by which i mean somebody is born with a defect that happens to improve the running ability of a future athelete then i cant see us improving much on present records .
but what happens in the future when we are more capable at manipulating our bodies through our genes. and it will happen one day.