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View Full Version : Treadmill vs. Running: Force and work factors/differences



Ben Hammond K
11-12-2002, 12:26 PM
I am a layman who is intrigued by the comparative physics,forces and =
work related to exercising on a treadmill and doing a similar horizontal =
movement on a stationary surface. (say running a mile on a treadmill and =
doing a similar mile, same pace, flat surface, even surface on pavement) =
First: do you burn as many calories on a treadmill as doing a similar =
distance on a flat, smooth surface? If I do 2 miles on a treadmill am I =
burning the same number of calories during the exercise as if I ran =
it/walked it on a flat, non moving surface? Why or why not? And what are =
the forces involved? Is the force component friction of your foot on =
the surface? Or is it the up and down movement of your legs that small =
distance multiplied by hundreds (thousands) off the surface? (Ignore =
wind resistance, up and down for curbs and balance required for jogging =
on irregular paths)

I have been a long time jogger until double hip surgery put me in my =
place...on a treadmill...yet all that time I had believed it was the =
body mass being moved a horizontal distance...beliefs can be wrong...an =
engineering friend observed that there is really=20
no significant lateral force component on moving a body (jogging) =
horizontally on a flat surface (friction maybe???) certainly one moving =
it vertically, (ie opposite gravity). So what forces and vectors of =
those forces make you sweat on a flat surface after running two =
miles...? I know SOMETHING does...what is it??? Friction, Movement of =
the body up and down, movement of the legs and if it's movement of the =
body up and down, can you burn up the same number of calories by staying =
in one place and marching, jogging up and down? How important is the =
lateral component? Did I run a few thousand miles in my life and could =
have gained the same benefit by jogging in place? If that is yes, you =
may hear a grown man cry!

I go to the gym now and do the treadmill and see the stair steps and =
circular/motion type machines...is the only component vertical? And is a =
stair stepper doing the same as a horizontal runner? But then why am I =
gasping for air when I run, even=20
a little distance, but not when I do the stairstep?

Thanks...the simpler the response the better, although I am generally =
familiar with physics, force vectors, components, just not their =
application to the real world of exercise...And if anybody knows =
references that I can go to find this that would be fine...
I am not that familiar with bio-mechanical references....just what's on =
the internet available for a non-business or university related =
layman...

Ben Hammond
Montgomery AL

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