About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

RSS feed of this blog

Born to run

To hear Dr. Joel Goodwin talk about running and exercise, you would think that humans have an evoluntionary obligation to move. In fact, that’s how he describes it.

Goodwin, 47, is a veteran of two Boston Marathons. By day, he is a trauma surgeon at Mary Washington Hospital. On Saturday he was a guest of the Marine Corps Historic Half marathon at its Healthy Lifestyle Expo. He was one of five speakers from the hospital.

Hundreds of race runners were at the Expo to pick up their packets, and several stopped to hear Goodwin suggest that running has always been a part of our lives.

“We’re good heat dissipators,” he said. “Our Achilles’ tendons are made for running. We have large knee joints and big butts. We are the only running mammals who don’t have tails.”

Humans are not as fast or quick as other animals, but no animal can run longer or farther, including horses and wolves, he said. Mexican Indians have been known to run for 24 hours, and African bushmen can run down an antelope. To Goodwin, there is little doubt that humans were born to run.

“How else could out-of-shape, overweight, middle-age men who haven’t run in years, commit to it, and within 4 to 6 months, be trained to run a marathon?” he asked.