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You Were Born To Run

Late one night Sameer’s grandfather was narrating him a story. He went on to tell how he used to go on leisure animal hunts and run long distances across the jungles of their native city. “Did you go on those fancy horses?, asked Sam. “No, we used to go in a jeep and chased the animals running on our feet. It was a weekly routine for me and my two friends.”, replied his grandfather. The answer didn’t convince Sam. “But horses can run faster than humans, then why didn’t you go on horses? Like they show in those old movies.”, he said. Sam’s grandfather recalled a similar discussion he had with one of his friends. They both had gotten into an argument about who could run faster, man or horse. His friend insisted that over many miles, a human runner would have greater stamina. The grandfather patiently replied, “Sameer, humans are born to run, our bodies are engineered in a way that we can run very long distances. Long back I also thought that animals were better at running. But originally humans have evolved from animals to run. In several Man Vs Horses marathons humans have won. Also there are other scientific evidences to human endurance, which you can search about on your iPad on health blogs like HealthPotli.”

We all know that human locomotion and movements is the most evolved form in the whole animal world. A human little baby’s first step, has a perfection of millions of years of evolution embedded in it. After the first step, the babies come to crawl, walk and run gradually in the first years. Scientists have found that it’s Pelvis - the hip bone, which is essential for the upright standing or running posture in any animal.

The primitive humans who survived by hunting didn’t have sharp claws or teeth like animals. But they had the endurance that no prey had. Endurance made them go to the top in the food chain and survive the life. This itself is an evidence that humans are evolved to run and endure. Let’s look at some more key points which highlight how human body has evolved to run.

- Our feet are a complex structure made up of about 26 bones along with arches that make possible to adapt constant changes in uneven path. It immediately adapts to changes in real time for grip and balance.

- Knee and ankle give shock up and prevent jerks.

- Hip and Spine provide an upright position for high head.

- Eyes and ear placement are also meant to look and follow.

- Short nasal track, straight respiratory passage and lungs placement facilitates easy airway.

Endurance is the key that made possible hunts without claws, jaws & agility. The body evolved to run very long distances so that men can chase prey till they exhaust and give up.

Running gives two kinds of rewards - first is the reward of the prey for food and second is a physiological reward. The first reward doesn’t hold true in modern day but the second reward is still experienced by many runners. This is known as the Runners’ High. Runners high is an euphoric feeling that many runners get after running for a significant distance in a particular pace. This is due to biochemical effects of running on the brain. Running releases some feel - good chemicals like endorphins in our body. These chemicals relieve pain and induce feeling of pleasure and happiness.

And the evolution has not yet stopped. Every year new records are make by super humans. This change is not only on a physical level but many elite runners show an ability to clear out the fatigue causing chemical - Lactic Acid, in a few milliseconds. A regular runner, Dean Karnazes made news for changes in genetic level that clears out the fatigue chemical - Lactic Acid in no time from his muscles. This implies that theoretically he can run forever and he did run non - stop for 350 miles in 80 hours and 44 minutes.

Such experiences and theories are evidence that humans are meant to rise, run and shine. We have that gift of endurance which we all can use to be the natural healthy way. We were all born to run, so get at it!

In our next article we shall look at some factors that helped brain growth and talk about counterview of some experts pointing that humans are not evolved to run.

Dr. Vinay Tiwary, the director of Tiwary Clinical Labs, is a doctor by profession and a runner by passion. Having completed his MBBS and MD from prestigious institutions, he did a Diabetic Educatorship fellowship to up skill people’s knowledge of diabetes. Dr. Tiwary believes that running is a natural instinct of human. “Running is easy and pleasing, when we are happy we run towards our loved ones. It’s in our instinct.”, he says. He is also the founder of Let’s Run, a unique community of runners in Raipur.
Connect to your hero Vinay at dr.vinay@tclonline.in

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Vinay Tiwari   |   30, May 2016

Hey Manish I am glad you put your points I shall try and clear it out

- There were many things responsible or our survival during evolution and I guess one contributed to other, it is proposed that the evolved brain was a result of the food we ate by hunting and gathering. We needed endurance to supply us our food, Intelligence and experience is also a part of developed brain. To run from fear and to hunt by experience gave us our brain.

- You don’t believe that humans are evolved to run – well you are not the only one many Palaeontologist are supporting your opinion; we shall see some in our future article

- According to me the purpose of running is reward as destress and fun, all other things like fitness, weight management, endurance comes later to that. There are many forms of training any one can take like you mentioned – Yoga. The stress is on taking some activity in routine what you take is up to you, many will claim one activity superiority over other but to ME all are good. But as you agreed running is most primitive form so its embedded in you and can be done with minimal guidance and gear.

I am not the preacher only for running but a follower and preacher for active lifestyle, I say that people should do some prescribed exercise daily, the points I gave were not to disprove any of yours but to evoke thought in you, I am open to more thoughts that you might have, if you happen to be in Raipur join us sometimes, you can get schedule on www.fb.com/letsrun.us

Thanks #HealthPotli for creating such a platform for awareness.

Manish   |   29, May 2016

Running is definitely one of most important activities a person should engage in. However there are points I completely don't agree in the article. - It's not the human endurance but human brain and imagination that led us what we are in the pyramid. - I also don't believe that we are evolved to run. - what is the purpose of running? Does it have utility in current context? If fitness is the only criteria then there are much evolved advanced forms of physical activities. Yoga, arguably being the most evolved. Running is infact the most primitive.

shaleen   |   29, May 2016

Gid gid gid gid