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Homework Help: Distance and time for a treadmill

  1. Apr 3, 2005 #1

    I'm trying to find "good" measurement for force, distance and time for a treadmill. I'm assuming the force will simply be the "weight" of my body but the distance..the distance is a different issue altogether.

    Since we're contrained in not using the data from the machine, I must use simple devices in my disposal i.e. metre sticks, bathroom scales, stop-watches, etc.

    How would I calculate good "distances" assuming I'm not setting the treadmill on an incline (that is, if I don't "have" to set it on an incline).

    Can I just calculate the average distance between my legs and multiply that by the number of steps I take?

    I must also calculate...

    1). Energy conducted away by vaporizing sweat.
    2).Energy that has been radiated away by my body during the workout.
    3).heat energy stored in excess body temperature.
    4). Amount of heat energy lost by convection
    5). total food energy used
    6). heat energy created during the work-out.

    Also, what happens to the energy stored as excess body heat as my body cools down to normal temperature?

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 4, 2005 #2


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    Science Advisor

    I guess this is going to depend on just how accurate you are really wanting to get...

    I can see where this is going. I can tell you that your approach is very much idealized and won't be close to the actual energy spent. A lot of research in this area has been done. My wife is an exercise physiologist and I hear about it quite often.

    The biggest source of error in your approach is to assume that the work done is simply F*d. In the case of a treadmill, one does not propel themselves like they do on a regular surface. Essentially, one is simply keeping up with the treadmill. Therefore the amount of energy expected to be spent is actually quite a bit lower. If you don't believe me, run 2 miles on a treadmill and then 2 miles outside. You'll see a huge difference in dificulty. Most research I have seen in this area uses a lot of connections between oxygen take up and energy expenditure.

    I would suggest that you do some research into this area just to get a better idea of what is really done in the professional world.

    When your body stops working as hard as it was, it stops producing heat at that increased rate. The heat you had simply dispurses to the surroundings.
  4. Apr 4, 2005 #3


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    Gold Member

    Good work Fred, but....

    We need to be careful about the type of treadmill. Some are self propelled (by a motor) as Fred explained, but others just offer friction/magnetic resistance and are actually powered by the user.
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