How fast can a human being really run? For a long time, as unremarkable as it may seem, the believed limit was 25 to 26 miles per hour. Why so slow? The reasoning was that at around that speed, the stress and strain on muscles and ligaments would become too much for the body to bear and unavoidable injuries would result. This myth, however, has been definitively busted. In his multiple world record shattering performances, Usain Bolt has averaged top speeds of around 28 miles per hour – faster than any human has ever run and safely above the estimated 25 to 26 mph injury threshold. This of course sends us back to the initial question – how fast can a human being really run?
Possibly inspired by Bolt’s record breaking and myth busting performances, new studies have been done to reinvestigate how far human running potential really goes. The result of these studies according to the Journal of Applied Physiology is that now, top human speed extends to around 35 to 40 miles per hour!
Why though, haven’t we seen sprinters blazing down the track at these speeds yet? Apparently, it may actually just boil down to technique and training. The new studies have also shown that what does limit runners today is the speed at which their muscles have been conditioned to contract. Nevertheless, what this could mean for sprinting is that as modern training techniques improve so too could the top speeds. With runners like Usain Bolt already redefining how fast “fast” really is, who knows how far the human speed limit will really go?
The beauty in athletics, however, is that sometimes somehow someone finds a way to defy all expectations. In that spirit, how fast do you think a person could potentially run? Share your thoughts with us in the comment box below, on Facebook or on Twitter.
Photo courtesy of dipity.com.