Thursday 19 February 2015

Exercise is not always healthy!

This a lot of talk about this recently. People are naturally sceptical and justly so as often the information or research on which such statements are based is often suspect, biased or just plain silly.

There is however a certain smugness among those who exercise regularly, a belief that they have put in the time therefore it stands to reason that they must be better in some way as a result of this. 
Most will believe that even if their preferred form of exercise is a bit one sided - like racket sports or involves a repetitive unnatural action - like cycling then surely they at least benefit from the endurance aspect, the improved muscle tone/strength...???  Is this so  ????

So lets examine the strength aspect first. 
If I may use my favorite analogy.. A house that is built of mud and straw has a certain strength.
A house made of metal girders and and steel bolts will be stronger. One that is made of steel girders and mud will be weaker than both. Repetitively playing the same sport or doing the same training regime will not make you stronger it will make unbalanced and more susceptible to break down.

Now the cardiovascular system. The systems and cells in our body are very specific, if we train them to be good at transferring oxygen so that we can e.g run 5 miles along a road in 25 mins that will not give us the cardiovascular ability to spend 25 mins shifting logs. To shift logs you need to send energy to a completely different part of the body. I recently went out for a dog walk with a friend who regularly does long road runs, 10K is a regular distance. But walking straight up a Perthshire hill with a dog had him out of breathe and trailing behind me..and I don't run at all!

Being fit for your chosen sport or activity and being fit to be healthy are not the same. 

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