Cellular Energy Usage
The fact that organisms use cellular energy efficiently and conservatively is a fundamental biological principle that has governed biological evolution. If an organism wastes energy needed to grow and reproduce, energy it must harvest either directly from sunlight or from consuming food, that organism or that wasteful process will be selected against, and organisms or processes that are less wasteful will be favored.
This principle of natural selection has existed since the earliest life forms appeared on earth and is reflected in human physiology. If our metabolic energy is used for a cellular process or tissue that is not required for our immediate existence, that energy consuming pathway will be limited or even terminated.
Examples abound. If we cease to mechanically stress our muscles, they will atrophy because it is energetically expensive to maintain muscle mass and if it is not being used, that energy expenditure is a waste. If we cease to stimulate the cognitive capabilities of our brain, our neural tissues, which are also expensive to maintain, will be reduced. If we cease to perform weight bearing exercises to stress our bones, the cells that form bone, osteoblasts, will become less active and the cells that absorb bone, osteoclasts, will dominate, leading to bone loss. This outcome is especially important for those who spend time in low gravity on the ISS.
On the other side of this cellular energy coin, if we take in more food calories than we need to perform our daily activities, our metabolic system will eventually store those extra calories in fats, the most calorie dense biomolecules, which may contribute to a host of pathologies.
This understanding of cellular energy usage can help guide us toward a healthy lifespan. If we want to maintain skeletal muscle mass, cognitive capabilities and bone density, we should seek activities that enhance all three. If we also want to combine such activities with a reduction in our carbon footprint and excess body fat, there is actually one excellent activity choice.
Exercise science has known for many decades that the most fit athletes in terms of maximum energy use are Olympic cross-country skiers. This sport combines the most desirable features of an all-around exercise because it is full body, engaging skeletal muscles from the neck down, including the core, it is weight bearing while being low impact on joints, it requires a natural stable upright posture, and it is mentally challenging as you continually negotiate your route.
When we introduced the StreetStrider, we were keenly aware of the fundamental biological principle of efficient cellular energy usage as well as the best features of an all-around exercise. StreetStriding, a snowless simulator of cross-country skiing, is arguably the best exercise for the human anatomy. By using your StreetStrider for exercise and/or to run errands and commute, you are using your cellular energy extremely efficiently because the level of exercise obtained per time period far exceeds that in a similar time period of riding a bicycle, largely because of the full body muscle engagement, especially your core. In addition, those StreetStrider outings will engage your cognitive capabilities as you negotiate your routes, all the while reducing your carbon footprint.
The StreetStrider was invented to provide an excellent and efficient way to exercise, travel and have fun. Likewise, the new e-Strider with its torque sensing system and no throttle continues to provide excellent exercise because the only way to obtain motor assistance is to apply significant force to the drive system, just like with the original StreetStrider design. However, now you can travel farther and faster, making the e-Strider a true commuter vehicle.