Monday, November 21, 2016

At Least I'm Getting Exercise

The hill - we all know it. We've all trekked up it in the rain, in the snow, in the freezing cold, when it was so icy that we didn't even know if we had enough traction to make it back to our dorm. We've also all (or maybe it's just me) used the excuse, "I don't need to go to the gym, I walk up the hill twice a day." Sounds legit, but just how much energy do you really burn? How much work do you do?

I decided to test this out on a small bit of hill outside the library. There are two relatively steep bits, one leading from the 3rd to the 5th floor and one from the 5th floor to the top of the hill. I wanted to see how much energy I burned walking up the hill from the 3rd to the 5th floor, so I timed myself on an average day when I was walking at what I believe is my ~average~ pace.

Here's some basic info:

θ of this section = ~11º (I checked it at multiple points and it was pretty consistent)
d (according to Google) = 153 ft = ~47 m
m = 57 kg (don't judge me I got my metabolism from my father)
μk= 0.7 (between rubber and asphalt it's 0.9 for static, so I'm estimating that for kinetic it'll be slightly less)

I'm assuming that I'm exerting a constant force with my feet for the sake of simplicity and because I tried my darnedest to go at a constant velocity.

Here's me on this little hill with all the forces (I'm an art minor)

To figure out the force I applied to get up the hill, I performed this set of equations related to sum of forces:

Now that I had the force, I could calculate the work done:

And finally, to know how many calories I burned in that 30 seconds of walking up the hill:

I know what you're thinking - only 4.3 Calories? Really?? But hey, that's only 30 seconds of work. That's a very small portion of the hill. Takes me what, 10 minutes to make my way from Whitnall Field to the Coop? Imagine how much work is done on the even steeper bits of the hill. I think after this little experiment, my claim still relatively stands that I get some exercise going up the hill (or at least, don't expect to find me at the gym anytime soon).

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