Excessive Exercise Cont...

August 31, 2008

My friend Griff pointed out to me that in the article Regular Gym visits Can Wear Out Your Joints, the exercise physiologist in the article Gary O'Donovan disagreed with the doctor who said:

"'People are crippling themselves with impact exercise. It is particularly problematic for overweight people who go to the gym.' .

O'Donovan implies that it is a myth that exercise is bad for the joints. He is quoted as saying:

"The fitter you are, the better. We have evolved to be active."

Actually, we have evolved to be smart and cunning; to stand up and see what we want to eat, trick it and eat it with the least amount of effort possible. This reminds me of the time that a friend of mine haughtily said to me "Humans are designed for running" to which I 'matter-of-factly' replied "You mean like compared to a cheetah?"

So, on one hand we have a pioneering surgeon who actually opens people's bodies up, looks directly at the joints and flatly and boldly states that aerobic-type exercise (other than walking briskly 3 times a week) wears out the joints prematurely. It's not hard to visualize - imagine grinding an aspirin in a mortar and pestle. The pestle is your thigh bone, the aspirin is your knee cartilage and the mortar (your hip socket).

On the other hand, we have an exercise physiologist (the title sounds greater than the course work required BTW) who mindlessly spews forth quotes from fitness magazines. You'd think he would have said "I'll have to agree with the good doctor. I never thought of it quite this way before." But if he did, he'd need a new job.

Truth is, editors of most articles where opinions on subjects are made always need to put in a counterpoint which is fine when the counterpoint has merit. But in this case it's just loopy.

Statements like these are what makes the field of exercise so shoddy and why doctors often look down upon physiologists and trainers. Sad indeed. Not even the American Council on Exercise (who I am certified by) nor the American College of Sports Medicine have the guts to admit that aerobic exercise causes more harm than good.

Stick to the weights folks. Other than that, enjoy your favorite pastime activities with glee.