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Biomechanics is “the study of the mechanical laws relating to the movement or structure of living organisms”. Biomechanics is primarily associated with sports, but medicine and the military may use biomechanics as a means to enhance performance and extend the physical limitations and potential of the human body to perform under stress. This is done by applying the laws of mechanics and physics to the study of movement and stress within the human body.
The basic focus of Biomechanics is the study of distance, displacement, speed and velocity as it affects performance and devising methods to improve performance.
In Biomechanical terminology, Distance is “the length of the path a body follows” that is, from point A to point B. Displacement is the “length of a straight from the start and finish points”; and expressed as quantities that describe a body’s motion and stress.
Biomechanically speaking, a 400 meter race run on a oval track, where that race starts and finishes at the same point, the distance is 400 meters, but the displacement may be 0 (zero), since the race began and ended at the same spot. In terms of displacement then, all that running was essentially just the same physical dynamic as running in place, since the start and finish was exactly the same place.
The value such knowledge may escape the layman at first, but consider that it is easier to monitor heartbeat, breathing and the physical stress of a runner when the runner is running, but stationary – such as on a treadmill – rather than physically running from one place to another, with a researcher alongside taking readings and notes.
The knowledge gained is an understanding of force, mass and weight, ,as well as acceleration and inertia as applied to sport and other extreme physical activities.