Physiological limits of human body existence

On April 30, according to the British New Scientist magazine, we have an irresistible desire to challenge the limits of mankind and set records. However, how far are we psychologically and physically from the ultimate limit?

What is the speed limit of human beings?

Jamaican flying man bolt broke the world 100 meter record and won the gold medal at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, and improved the world record held by himself by 0.11 seconds. What is the speed limit of mankind? Mark Denny of Stanford University in the United States was very curious about this problem and decided to conduct an in-depth study on how fast humans can reach 100 meters.

By analyzing the world records of various track and field competitions (even horse racing and other competitions) since 1920, he found that the results of many competitions follow a similar pattern, that is, the results gradually improve until stable. For example, at the Kentucky Jockey Club, it was difficult for many horses to break through the speed limit after they reached the speed limit in 1949. Human athletes seem to follow the same pattern. The women’s 100m performance stabilized in 1977, and the men’s sprint performance is still improving. However, Danny said that based on the models established in other events, this performance seems to be reaching the limit.

According to his prediction, the limit of the men’s 100m is 9.48 seconds, which is only 0.1 seconds less than bolt’s current world record. Danny said: “if we continue to maintain the current momentum, bolt will soon be close to this limit.” What is the reason for this human speed limit? Danny believes that the reason is similar to the strength weight ratio of athletes. Beyond a certain point, the advantages of stronger muscles and longer limbs will be offset by the increased energy consumption of lifting heavier weights.

(internship editor: Zhu Yanmei)

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