Harold should have won the Battle of Hastings

On the day of the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, The Head of the School of Sport & Service Management, Professor Jonathan Doust, has been wondering how King Harold might have fared if he had the science and nutritional support now commonplace in the 21st century.   

Harold had to march his army quickly, 300 south, after warding off Viking invaders at the Battle of Stamford Bridge to defend the country against the invading Norman army.  His army marched around 25 miles a day for a fortnight to make the journey and some historians put his defeat down to exhausted soldiers. 

The fast march carried an immense physical strain that Professor Doust calculates as a daily food need of 4,500 calories – similar to that faced by hard-training sportsmen and women. 

The school’s students of sports science, physical education, coaching science and hospitality would have been able to advise Harold of the right food and fitness regimes to sustain this effort. If Harold had been given that advice his troops would have reached Hastings in a fresh condition, won the battle, and the rest would have been history. 

brightonuni_oct15_080The science behind the calculations has been studied in the laboratories this week by first year students of sports science, physical education and sports coaching where they have been measuring energy expenditure during physical activity. Knowledge of the science is then applied to practice such as: how to optimise training load in athletes, what are the energy needs of sportsmen and women, and how can technique training improve the efficiency of movement.

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