I once came across a claim that people naturally walk at a speed that results in the least energy expenditure per distance travelled. Walking too slow would result in burning more energy for basic body processes, but running too quickly would burn extra energy in skeletal muscles.

If this claim is correct, then it should follow that people with higher metabolism would walk faster. Is this true? Have there been any studies on this subject?

  • Where did you read this? Since your question depends on the claim being correct (and I'm skeptical it is), we have to be able to evaluate the claim first. In other words, your question needs more prior research. – Carey Gregory Jun 30 '19 at 15:53
  • @CareyGregory My question does not depend on the first claim being correct. It is possible that higher walking speed could be associated with higher metabolism, but for walking to not be the optimally efficient form of foot-based locomotion. – Nic Jun 30 '19 at 15:56
  • I added a link to a 1958 study on the energy-speed relation of walking. – Nic Jun 30 '19 at 16:01
  • Thank you for adding the link, but I don't understand your comment. Your second paragraph begins "If this claim is correct," which makes your hypothesis -- and therefore your question -- dependent on the answer. If that's not what you meant, you might want to edit your question. – Carey Gregory Jun 30 '19 at 18:03
  • The linked article, under Figure 3 says that the relationship between the speed of walking and energy expenditure is linear and that "experimental points are derived from the studies of a number of different investigators." Under conclusions, the first point says: "During level walking, the energy expenditure is a linear function of the square of the speed." I don't know how could one make an association between this study and the "speed of metabolism." The question is not about health, anyway. – Jan Jul 1 '19 at 8:03

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