Belgian scientists recently studied the amazing Sherpas. Sherpas are Himalayan porters who are famed for carrying heavy loads slowly up steep mountainous inclines. Male and female Sherpas carry loads above and beyond their body weights from before dawn to after dusk.
The Belgian study included children as young as eleven and mature Sherpas as old as sixty-eight. The scientists witnessed that the Sherpa’s walk for 15 seconds and rest for 45 seconds.
The scientists believe that the integration of the Sherpa’s head into their carrying system has raised their centre of gravity. Somehow this allows them to carry heavier loads more easily.
The Belgian scientists believe that Sherpa physiology has adapted somehow to the mountain people’s habits. They studied extensively the physiological reactions that occur within the Sherpa’s bodies as they work. They discovered that while the metabolism of these porters increase while they work, it only does so by half of what a European person’s metabolism would increase under the same circumstances.
The metabolism decrease results in also decreasing the amount of calories the Sherpas expend. The Sherpa’s energy use is highly efficient which helps the Sherpa endure these long walks carrying heavy loads.