Tuesday, January 17, 2012

what happens if you walk 1000 miles in 1000 hours?

Last year I wrote my reading about Captain Barclay; his most famous exploit was the walking of 1,000 miles (1,600 km) in 1000 hours for 1000 guineas in 1809.  There is good analysis here.

Anyway, I just noticed that a case study has been published looking at the physiological impact of repeating this feat: (presumably it was Richard Dunwoody)  It sounds easy..one mile in 1 hour.....but doing that every hour for 1000 hours....little sleep, curtailed rest.  Hard stuff.

The biochemical, physiological and psychological consequences of a “1,000 miles in 1,000 hours” walking challenge

The combined effects of 42 days of chronic sleep disruption and repeated hourly bouts of physical exertion have not been described. This case study reports the physiological and psychological demands placed on one individual who walked 1 mile in each consecutive hour for a period of 1,000 h (42 days), covering a total distance of 1,000 miles. The participant walked at a mean speed of 1.75 m/s completing each mile in approximately 15 min. Over the course of the challenge, the individual lost 1.6 kg in body weight. Markers of skeletal muscle damage, increased gradually whilst free testosterone levels decreased over the course of the challenge. Stress hormones increased whilst inflammatory markers (CRP) initially rose but then returned towards baseline over the course of the study. Cognitive motor performance measured via reaction time was maintained throughout the 42 days. The participant also displayed mood states typical of an elite athlete at baseline and throughout the challenge. Participation in this novel ‘1,000 mile 1,000 h’ walking challenge evoked considerable physiological stress in a fit, healthy middle-aged participant but did not markedly alter cognitive performance or mood over the 42-day period.

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