'Sensing', 'intuitive' runners adopt different styles to optimise energy: Study

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New Delhi, Apr 8 (PTI) An individual's Myers-Briggs personality -- sensing or intuitive -- can influence how they use their lower bodies while running for optimising energy, a new research has found.


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test defines sensing individuals as those preferring physical realities and concrete, specific facts, and intuitive ones as those favouring abstract concepts and making unconscious connections.

Researchers said this preference was reflected in the participants' running styles as they used their lower bodies differently.

They observed that the intuitives adopted a "dynamic and elastic" running form by using their legs as springs in propelling themselves upwards, thereby making shorter strides and recovering energy with each stride -- known as the 'stretch-shortening' running style.


The sensing runners, on the other hand, were seen to favour a more "earthbound" running style, by which they propelled themselves forward rather than upwards.

"The 'physical contact' down-to-earth aspect of this personality trait seems to be reflected in both the mind and running form of sensing runners," the researchers, including those at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, said in the study published in the PLoS ONE journal.

Since such individuals pay attention to something they can perceive with their physical senses, individuals with a more grounded running form should focus on practical facts, the authors said.


"Sensing runners might describe their running form as 'I run very close to the ground to save as much energy as possible'," the team said.

In contrast, the authors said the elastic running form is an "inherent feature" of the intuitive runners, relying on the re-use of elastic energy.

"These individuals were better able to use their lower limb structures as springs, representing one of the multiple functional roles of the musculoskeletal system," the authors wrote.

"Intuition runners might describe their running form as 'I spend energy to fight against gravity because I can use my leg springs to recover energy from each step'," said the authors.

For the study, the researchers recruited 80 participants -- 67 men and 13 women -- between September 1 and November 30, 2014. Each participant underwent two experimental sessions within a week -- a running test in the first session and a personality assessment in the second. PTI KRS SZM