Are Humans Born to Run?

There is no question that everybody has run in their lives, whether it is a quick sprint to the car in the rain or a marathon, we all have run at some time. But are humans born to run? And are we supposed to? There are new controversial theories that too much exercise is not good for you, but the overwhelming evidence is that exercise and running in particular, is highly beneficial to a person.

The Body Features for Running

There are many features that make the body a running machine, in fact they are from head to toe. Just like animals, humans have many anatomical features that aid in running. Features such as short toes, elongated achilles tendons and things like the correct metabolisms for long distance running. Distance and endurance running is something that humans have adapted to and is a trade-off between power and speed. Humans have great neck muscles that stop our heads from jiggling about when running, and the lack of fur keeps us cool along with an abundance of sweat glands.

Performance Abilities

Along with many anatomical features it is a human’s capacity to perform that also needs to be considered. We often compare ourselves to dogs and horses when we run, but this is not correct. Humans are primates and when you compare how humans run to other primates, we are exceptional. There are no other primates that can run a marathon!

Humans aren’t very good at sprinting.


Nobody has put forward a better theory for why humans adapted to run than to aid them in hunting and scavenging. Perhaps it may have been because humans were forced to run away from predators? This theory is rather flawed in the fact that humans can only run fast for around ten seconds, but most animals can run faster and for longer.

In the stone-age people did not run for sport or for their health, and they rarely ran into battle, as that type of violence is a fairly recent thing. So where did we get either the reason or interest to run? The body is better suited to endurance than speed and this could give us an important clue. Almost anybody can run / walk a marathon, it might take hours to do so, but humans have the endurance to do this.


Humans have the capacity and capability to exceed what we actually do, like a racing car being driven on the streets of a town. And humans have evolved to be able to run longer distances but slowly, perhaps interspersed with plenty of walking.

So, the conclusion of this investigation is that the human body has special features that suit running, also the human metabolism is built for endurance. So in a way humans really were born to run, although we have had to adapt to do so. The type of running that we do today is probably vastly different to what our ancient forefathers did, but perhaps there is something that they did pass on to us when they were being chased by Sabre-Tooth Tigers.