Knight on a treadmill (a tale of energy spent)

ScienceNOW reports on a new study (published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B) about knights of old:

Heavy Armor Gave Knights a Workout

Knights in shining armor paid a heavy price for the protection their suits provided them from swords, arrows, and Frenchmen catapulting cows. Researchers have found that the steel plate-mail armor worn during the 15th century, which weighed 30 to 50 kilograms, required its wearers to expend more than twice the usual amount of energy when they walked or ran….  Physiologist Graham Askew of the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom… and colleagues… [had] armor-clad interpreters run on a treadmill at different speeds and monitored their oxygen consumption, heart and respiration rates, and stride length….

“First you laugh, and then it makes you think,” says Rodger Kram, a physiologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, paraphrasing the motto of the Ig Nobel Prizes. One interesting aspect of the study, he says, is that the pattern of walking—parameters such as stride length, angle of stride, and the amount of time the foot is on the ground—doesn’t change even when a person is carrying a heavy weight on his foot. “It says there’s a way we prefer to walk,” Kram says.

BONUS: Video, prepared by the researchers, of a knight in armor walking and running on a treadmill.

This still photo was supplied by Graham Askew to Science News:

BONUS: 1998 Ig Nobel Prize winner Troy Hurtubise expends energy in the self-built suit of armor that he designed to protect himself against grizzly bears, in the documentary film Project Grizzly  [which you can watch online, for free].