Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Way of the Sherpa

I was recently reminded of how we can walk more enjoyably and more efficiently, by learning a few simple lessons from the Himalayan porters.
It turns out that a Himalayan porter can travel uphill 60% faster than a Caucasian mountaineer. Half of this better performance comes from the fact that the body of the Himalayan porter has a more efficient metabolism. BUT, the other half of the difference is that the porter moves more efficiently.
Research shows that they keep their centres of gravity moving in a smooth line: not bobbing up and down, not surging forward and backwards, not wobbling from side to side. In other words they glide uphill.
I tried this simple glide technique for a full day along the North Glen Shiel Ridge and it worked a treat!
Himalayan porter's specialization: metabolic power, economy, efficiency and skill; Alberto E Minetti et al; Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2006

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