Fitness and sweating, muscles support the arch

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

A lot of interesting things to read this week but I’m going to focus on an old myth that I bought into myself and another old myth that I never truly understood.

Fitness and sweating

First, the one I believed. I remember a long time ago being told that out of shape people sweat more than someone of average fitness but then the trend turns as you gain higher levels of fitness. One of the adaptations of becoming more fit is that you sweat more to moderate body heat.

Well, maybe not…

Essentially, fitter runners sweat more because they run faster and burn more energy, creating more heat. They produce more heat through burning more energy so they sweat more to regulate that heat. Put people of different fitness levels on a treadmill at the same pace and, as a whole, they sweat the same amount.

The catch is that efficiency matters. If you’re less efficient, you burn more energy, produce more heat and sweat more. Not real surprising.

I’m not sure how much we can take away from this other than correcting a myth and appreciating another benefit of improving our efficiency.

Muscles support the arch

For as long as I can remember, the talking point on the feet was that ligaments do the bulk of the work in the foot. They support the arch to act in a spring-like manner. That always left me wondering, why do we even have muscles in the foot? They aren’t big muscles that can be used in propelling us forward. So what are they doing? It only made sense to me that they work with the ligaments to support the arch and other structures of the foot.

Now, we have some evidence that this is the case.

In this article, the discussion is on how this knowledge might affect running shoe design. Maybe because I’m mostly interested in training, though, I instantly began thinking about what this means to training paradigms. We shouldn’t be ignoring the muscles of the foot. We should be strengthening them right along with the muscles of the leg. I would love to see some research but my gut says maybe doing so would reduce the risk of foot injuries that plague too many runners.

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