Ultimate Limit of Human Endurance Found
The ultimate limit of human endurance has been worked out by scientists analyzing a 3,000 mile run, the Tour De France and other elite events.
They presented the cap was 2.5 times the body’s resting metabolic rate, or 4,000 calories a day for an average person.
The study, by Duke University, also presented pregnant women were endurance specialists, living at nearly the limit of what the human body can cope with.
The research started with the Race across the USA in which athletes ran 3,080 miles from California to Washington DC in 140 days.
Participants are running six marathons a week for months, and scientists were researching the effect on their bodies.
The calories burned in the extreme endurance event were recorded.
The research in Science Advances, exposed energy use started off high but eventually levelled off at 2.5 times the resting metabolic rate.
The research found a pattern between the length of a sporting event and energy expenditure; and that while running a marathon may be beyond many; it is nowhere near the limit of human endurance.
- Marathon (just the one) racers used 15.6 times their resting metabolic rate
- During the 23 days of the Tour De France used 4.9 times their resting metabolic rate
- A 95-day Antarctic trekker used 3.5 times the resting metabolic rate
“You can do really powerful stuff for a couple of days, but if you want to last longer then you have to dial it back,” Dr. Herman Pontzer, from Duke University, told BBC News.
Dr. Herman Pontzer said that, “Every data point, for every event, is all mapped onto this beautifully crisp barrier of human endurance.
During the pregnancy time, women’s energy use peaks at 2.2 times their resting metabolic rate, the study showed.
Dr. Pontzer said that the findings could eventually help athletes.
“In the Tour De France, know that where are your ceiling is allows you to pace yourself smartly.
“Secondly, we’re talking about survival those days and weeks and months, so it is most applicable to training regimens and thinking whether if they fit with the long-term metabolic limits of the body.”