Athletes work hard to push their limits, especially in endurance events like ultramarathons or long-distance cycling races. There are always new records to break and better PRs to achieve, but a new study followed top-tier endurance athletes and found there is, indeed, “a maximum level of exertion humans can sustain in the long term,” according to a Duke University blog post, upending the idea that barriers to athletic achievement are more mental than physical.
The study, which was published in the journal Science Advances earlier this month, assessed energy exertion during some of the most grueling endurance events, and researchers found that all athletes hit the same limit: 2.5 times their resting metabolic rate. Beyond that, their bodies start to break down their own tissues to gain more calories.
“This defines the realm of what’s possible for humans,” Herman Pontzer, associate … Read the rest