Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Take Your Pick

"Despite the historical notion that physical activity needs to be performed for a minimum duration to elicit meaningful health benefits, we provide novel evidence that sporadic and bouted -- moderate to vigorous physical activity -- are similarly associated with substantially reduced mortality."
"[Researchers concluded through their studies that mortality rate reductions associated with moderate to vigorous exercise] are independent of how activity is accumulated."
"[Shorter, more intense, sweat-inducing physical activity] conferred little additional benefit."
Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland

"So eat the same from 30 to [age] 60 and you may well be 30 pounds heavier."
"I'm not aware of any robust evidence to suggest decreasing activity with age leads to gain, nor that increasing activity with age will provide any remarkable benefits in preventing weight gain."
Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, obesity expert, assistant professor, University of Ottawa

It certainly would seem that scientific rigour could be guaranteed with a scientific review of thousands of adult Americans whose exercise regimens and lifestyle outcomes were tracked over a period exceeding six years, the outcome of which suggests that what is considered the gold standard treatment in weight management -- namely exercise -- turns out to be equally of benefit whether undertaken in intense bursts or in small thrusts throughout a day. A vigorous run or a fitness class in the former instance, walking and taking the stairs in the latter.

Metabolism is most definitely known to be affected by exercise. That exercise affects metabolism irrespective of how that exercise is distributed throughout the day represents a novel discovery from a research team whose research paper was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study, led by Dr. Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, saw the researchers tracking close to five thousand Americans in excess of age 40 for about six years.

Of that total number of research subjects 700 died, leading the researchers to conclude that reductions in mortality associated with moderate to vigorous exercise make no distinction between how that exercise is approached, its intensity and time devoted to pursuing the exercise. Their informed insight should, they feel, lead clinical practise, steering physicians from recommending only shorter, intense physical activity for effectiveness in controlling weight and fine-tuning the body's musculature.

The goal, simply put, should be the accumulation of 150 minutes of exercise weekly; distribution time and level of effort is immaterial. The researchers recognize that greater flexibility in exercise protocols prescribed by the medical community to their patients might be of great value to those people who tend to be less active, and as a result more susceptible to the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, leading to heart and stroke and neurological complications.

That the researchers appeared to give short shrift to age-related metabolism slow-down fails to impress Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, medical director of the Bariatic Medical Institute in Canada. Age has the effect of slowing metabolism by approximately ten pounds each decade beyond the age of 30, compounded by menopause in the case of women. Nor is Dr. Freedhoff a fan of the accepted wisdom that less exercise leads to weight gain, and the reverse; more exercise leading to weight loss.

Dr. Freedhoff's point of objection is that the effect of exercise on the human body and the role it plays in weight loss cannot be studied on its own, without giving due consideration and equal weight of importance to linking exercise in weight loss with the critical issue of food intake. The effect of exercise on weight loss cannot be viewed in isolation from food uptake, quantity and nutritional quality. Dr. Freedhoff has substantial company in his point of view, as can be deduced from reading these brief statements from other experts in the field:
"I think the role of exercise in weight loss is highly overrated."
"I think it's really great for being healthy, but I'm a strong believer that overeating is what causes obesity. To exercise your way out of overeating is impossible."
Marc Reitman, chief of the diabetes, endocrinology and obesity branch of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, (NIDDK)

"The key for weight loss is to generate and maintain a calorie deficit."
"It's pretty easy to get people to eat 1,000 calories less per day, but to get them to do 1,000 calories per day of exercise - walking 10 miles - is daunting at many levels, including time and motivation."
"Theoretically, people can exercise enough to lose without changing what they eat, but they have to exercise a whole lot."
"Exercise, if hard enough and long enough, certainly can do this [increase metabolism."
"But again, it depends on how much, what type and how hard. A two-mile stroll, while a good thing, will not do too much to resting metabolism."
"For older people, exercise facilitates the capacity for them to stay engaged in life. Exercise in almost any dose does so many good things for people."
Michael Joyner, Mayo Clinic researcher 

So curb that appetite, watch what you eat, while enjoying what you eat, and take the time to exercise. The simple fact is, to maintain good health, being sedentary at any age won't cut it. Exercise, on the other hand, helps to stay healthier, longer, strengthening heart and lungs, reducing risk of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome inclusive of hypertension, high blood sugar, excess waist level body fat and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Risk of certain cancers is reduced as well, with an exercise regimen.

Exercise lightens the psychological load, elevating your mood, helping to keep your brain active and involved, and sharpening judgement skills. Above all, it elongates longevity...

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