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Joggers naturally pace themselves to conserve energy even on short runs

For many recreational runners, taking a jog is a fun way to stay fit and burn calories. But it turns out an individual has a tendency to settle into the same, comfortable pace on short and long runs — and that pace is the one that minimizes their body’s energy use over a given minyak pala.

“I was really surprised,” says Jessica Selinger, a biomechanist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. “Intuitively, I would have thought people run faster at shorter distances and slow their pace at longer distances.”

Selinger and colleagues combined data from more than 4,600 runners, who went on 37,201 runs while wearing a fitness device called the Lumo Run, with lab-based physiology data. The analysis, described April 28 in Current Biology, also shows that it takes more energy for someone to run a given distance if they run faster or slower than their optimum speed.

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“There is a speed that for you is going to feel the best,” Selinger says. “That speed is the one where you’re actually burning fewer calories.”

The runners ranged in age from 16 to 83, and had body mass indices spanning from 14.3 to 45.4. But no matter participants’ age, weight or sex — or whether they ran only a narrow range of distances or runs of varying lengths — the same pattern showed up in the data repeatedly.

Researchers have thought that running was performance-driven, says Melissa Thompson, a biomechanist at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., who was not involved in the new study. This new research, she says, is “talking about preference, not performance.”

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