Scientific article

The energy cost of walking or running on sand

Publication date1992

Oxygen uptake (VO2) at steady state, heart rate and perceived exertion were determined on nine subjects (six men and three women) while walking (3-7 km.h-1) or running (7-14 km.h-1) on sand or on a firm surface. The women performed the walking tests only. The energy cost of locomotion per unit of distance (C) was then calculated from the ratio of VO2 to speed and expressed in J.kg-1.m-1 assuming an energy equivalent of 20.9 J.ml O2-1. At the highest speeds C was adjusted for the measured lactate contribution (which ranged from approximately 2% to approximately 11% of the total). It was found that, when walking on sand, C increased linearly with speed from 3.1 J.kg-1.m-1 at 3 km.h-1 to 5.5 J.kg-1.m-1 at 7 km.h-1, whereas on a firm surface C attained a minimum of 2.3 J.kg-1.m-1 at 4.5 km.h-1 being greater at lower or higher speeds. On average, when walking at speeds greater than 3 km.h-1, C was about 1.8 times greater on sand than on compact terrain. When running on sand C was approximately independent of the speed, amounting to 5.3 J.kg-1.m-1, i.e. about 1.2 times greater than on compact terrain. These findings could be attributed to a reduced recovery of potential and kinetic energy at each stride when walking on sand (approximately 45% to be compared to approximately 65% on a firm surface) and to a reduced recovery of elastic energy when running on sand.

  • Adult
  • Energy Metabolism/ physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Locomotion/physiology
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion/physiology
  • Running
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • Walking
Affiliation Not a UNIGE publication
Citation (ISO format)
ZAMPARO, P. et al. The energy cost of walking or running on sand. In: European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology, 1992, vol. 65, n° 2, p. 183–187.
ISSN of the journal0301-5548

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