exercise and health


I am troubled by the recent Time Magazine Article, Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin. The author suggests that it is possible to separate weight from other health issues. Even as the author concedes that exercise is important for cognitive abilities, prevention of disability and mental health… He goes on to expose that exercise alone will not make you thin. I do not know what audience he is talking to but I think that most human beings understand that there is a relationship between calories taken in and calories expended.

I cannot imagine there are many individuals being swindled into weight gain by exercise. Furthermore the author does not seem to differentiate between appearance and actual health. How many people have become fat from exercising? If someone is already overweight and is active are they worse off than if they are overweight and sedentary? Or is this conversation about individuals who want to loose 5 pounds but whose health is not in jeopardy?

The author goes on to talk about the type of exercise that we should be getting, maybe it is better to do prolonged exercise throughout the course of the day rather than short bursts of intense organized exercise at the gym…yes maybe for some people it is…however we live in a society full of conveniences that preclude moving our bodies. Many peoples only opportunity to move comes in the form of organized exercise…I do not see how that is not preferable to no exercise.

The whole conversation is flawed. There is a health crisis in this country that is centered on the food we are ingesting. Yes, each of us is different in the way our metabolism works, what brings us pleasure and even how our day is composed. This prescription to eliminate what is generally a positive health benefit in our daily practice because of some inconclusive studies and an individuals dislike of his chosen exercise seems bizarre. Instead how about some ideas…if you are running every day, not enjoying it and not happy with your body why not try walking to work or riding your bicycle. If your weekend is your only chance to exercise and you find yourself sore and unable to walk up the stairs all week try gardening or swimming on the weekends. If you are not getting the results you want from your exercise routine try adding up the calories you are burning and taking in…It is a known fact that one of the contributing factors to the overwhelming weight problem in this country is a sedentary life style. I find it offensive that this article suggests otherwise.

There are lots of questionable facts used in this article including: a flawed study which is central to the conclusions; a misleading statement that fat turns to muscle; and offering the information that extremely overweight people burn more calories (what is his point overweight people do not need to exercise because their bodies are working so efficiently??).

The author also totally ignores other conflicting studies that suggest that exercise actually suppresses some peoples appetites and that studies show that people who are able to maintain a weight loss for an extended period of time nearly always incorporate exercise into their daily practice.

A European Time article Cracking The Fat Riddle, shares a more inclusive view on the many causes of the epidemic weight gain that we are experiencing across the world. Also check out Benjamin Opipari’s rebuttal to the Time Magazine article.

Ultimately we have to acknowledge who Time Magazine is written for…the upper class professional who is worried about the “gut fat that hangs over my belt when I sit”, is a far cry from those suffering from diabetes and obesity. For many whether or not they exercise is a life or death situation. Nutrition advocates are already working against financial discrepancies and the high cost of healthful food. Exercise, although hard for some, is free and one of the most important weapons in the fight for good health and to have to argue against the fallacious argument that it makes you fat is infuriating.

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This entry was published on September 1, 2009 at 1:28 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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