Tuesday, March 23, 2010


This is an essay concerning Homo sapiens and his inherited trait of the potential of running and its significance for health.
First some comments about inherited traits. Traits may be divided between Mendelein and hard-wired traits. The former are such as right and left handedness, skin color, hair color and texture, baldness, eye color and so many more. Hard wired inherited traits are such as finger nails, eyes, noses, appetites, ability to see and hear, sex and I believe running should be included among the hard wired traits. These traits are what make humans human as are the ability to bond, to love, to reason and to fear.
Even without scientific reasons for the better health of runners it was reported by the USATF that in 2007 there were approximately 30 million runners in our country who run at least once a week. Race directors have reported increasing numbers of contestants in race after race every year since. One must wonder if the two to two and a half years longer of runners’ lives are most of the reason for the increase in the life expectancy of the general public.
It seems to me that science has not generally accepted that man is a running animal and if I am correct, a great deal of science that, through investigation of non-runners results in misleading information. The subject of why runners are healthier than non-runners has not been given the devotion of scientific investigation it should have. It should be kept in mind that with the obvious inheritance of the potential for running what other hard wired traits are also inherited but not identified by science?
Here then are some additional questions I would like to have addressed that require little investigational cost and if the results do not indicate that running is necessary, so be it. Knowing that statistics indicate that runners have much less Alzheimer’s than non-runners I should think the question, “Why” should be high on the question list. I would like to know if pregnant women runners produce children with less autism than non-runners and if so, “why?”
The host of human problems with no scientific explanation such as Parkinson’s, MS, MD, ALS, Alzheimer’s and many others should have the incidence in runners as compared with non-runners, published. If in any of those problems there are differences, research should start with the running normal subject and not the indolent part of the population.
Somewhat current investigation of brain chemistry concerning the production of dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin among others is challenging investigators. The very act of the thumping of the brain in running with each time a foot strikes the surface, being normal in humans could have critical significance in runners as compared to non-runners. That’s another area for investigation since running exercise has been found to enhance the production of new neurons as well as chemistry.
To me the evidence of the value of running is becoming almost overwhelming and I expect the idea has been accepted by many but there are barriers to its general acceptance. One barrier being that we as a society have thought that work is to be shunned and that running is the most strenuous work readably available to us humans. Even many investigators are discouraged by the thought they might have to run to be as healthy as possible.
With the above said I would appreciate any pro and or con comments.


1 comment:

  1. I agree that running is very important to our species. The human body is made for running. Chimpanzees and apes can move very fast for short distances but they cannot come close to the human in long distance running. I think the fact that we have evolved for running is part of what makes it so enjoyable. I would not find it very hard to believe that there would be health benefits to running other than the basic fitness benefits.

    By the same token, I would propose that what makes thinking and problem solving so enjoyable to humans is the fact that we have evolved for this also. The satisfaction and euphoria felt with the solving a difficult problem or puzzle, writing a story, solving a math problem or even just enjoying a good mystery story may be built into the way we work.