Monthly Archives: July 2006

Muscular Ma’ams and Maidens

I was sent this article on how strength training is growing in popularity with women.

Turns out strength training significantly boosts self esteem and confidence in survivors of breast cancer. (Scroll down to get to the meat of the article.)

Go, ladies, go!

So what’s the point?

A new study funded by the American Council on Exercise found that almost every working person walks almost 2 miles a day.

Ace_study_table

Check out Table 1. to the left. (Click on the image and it will expand.)

Even sedentary secretaries walk on average 1.7 miles each and every day.

The mail carriers hoofed a whopping 7.5 miles on a daily basis.

I find this extremely interesting since my mail lady is grossly over fat.

Given the amount of activity that these people perform (and though not on the list, you could guess that if a secretary walks 1.7 miles a day, stay-at-home moms probably dwarf this) why is obesity on the rise?

Well I know the answer, but it certainly isn’t inactivity.

Incidentally, right next to the end of the study article was an add for Buying a Pedometer with a free booklet on how to walk off those unwanted extra pounds.

Sheesh.

The Real Age Test – Real or Speil?

OK I’m on a debunking kick this week.

The Real Age test by Drs. Oz and Roizen is a 20 minute long series of questions that helps you to determine if you’re immortal, or, about to check out.

You enter your info (too much info actually – they would make it completely free if they really cared) and your actual age appears in the top right hand corner.

You then answer a bunch of questions, hit ENTER, and your new REAlAGE appears in the top right hand corner. Sometimes you have to answer 2 pages of questions before they update your age and in the end you have to wait 1-2 hours (they don’t tell you this beforehand of course) to get the final decision.

Annoying.

But, the anticipation of seeing my current age (44.9 years), bold and yellow in the top right hand corner, sharply decline after answering the series of health/safety questions is really fun.

Since I’m a healthy sort of fellow, I was eager to be awarded by Drs. Oz and Roizen a few extra decades of life.

To my dismay however, a few times my current age went up hitting 46 years old at one point.

The back button was immediately pressed. By manipulating the data I could raise or lower my age accordingly learning what it is they wanted to hear.

Here’s the problem with the test – many of the questions incorrectly presuppose your health status. Some questions don’t, like "Do you wear a seat belt and have airbags in your car?" I have no problem believing that I’ll live longer if I drive an 2 1/2 ton SUV (as opposed to a Mini) or if I don’t smoke, take heroin, or bungee jump off the Rocky Mountains as a hobby.

Plan_switz_snto_bungee_jumping_ticino_22

Yowsaah!

However, many questions seem almost purposefully skewed. EX: The test presupposes that if your cholesterol level is high (above 180) you are effectively closer to dying and so your age is kicked up a notch.

There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to support this notion. It is absolutely false. And I’d debate Drs. Oz and Roizen on Crossfire on this point until the cows come home.

The test also assumes that f you don’t eat enough fiber, whole grains, take a vitamin supplement, do regular aerobic exercise, and a whole bunch of other assumingly healthy things your REALAGE goes on the rise scaring you into immediately phoning the Vitamin Shoppe and the YMCA.

Once again health fans, there is no scientific evidence to support the above. None. Really.

Believe it or not, I was further aged for not strength training enough. Can you believe it?!

When they email you your results, they include "What you are doing to live longer/less longer lists." A nice touch. You can see, at a glance, how you’re bad and how you’re good. You can click on a particular item on the list and read what you need to do to improve or feel good about. The good doctors told me that I need to strength train at least 3 times a week for 45 minutes or more a session.

If the good doctors bothered to read the research on the subject rather than rely on Oprah Winfrey’s trainer Bob Greene’s book on exercise as a reference, they would see that all one needs is two, 15-20 minute training sessions a week to reap all the benefits of resistance training.

Below is an abstract of a well done meta analysis of all the research on how much strength training is needed. How did the NY Times bestselling authors miss this?

Potential health-related benefits of resistance training.

Winett RA, Carpinelli RN.

Center for Research in Health Behavior, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0436, USA.

Public health guidelines primarily focus on the promotion of physical activity and steady-state aerobic exercise, which enhances cardiorespiratory fitness and has some impact on body composition. However, research demonstrates that resistance exercise training has profound effects on the musculoskeletal system, contributes to the maintenance of functional abilities, and prevents osteoporosis, sarcopenia, lower-back pain, and other disabilities. More recent seminal research demonstrates that resistance training may positively affect risk factors such as insulin resistance, resting metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, blood pressure, body fat, and gastrointestinal transit time, which are associated with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Research also indicates that virtually all the benefits of resistance training are likely to be obtained in two 15- to 20-min training sessions a week.

And there’s a whole lot more wrong stuff with the test but this blog is getting a little bloggy.

The REALAGE test would be helpful and worthy if the questions asked represented true information across the board, but it’s worthless since it doesn’t. In fact, it’s worse than worthless – it’s misleading.

There’s enough nonsense in this world without having to suffer more from top docs who make millions off there false information.

Innocent ignorance? Perhaps.

Pi-lie-tes

Most of this information is untrue:

"Pilates builds strength without "bulking up" – gain long, lean muscles and flexibility. Conventional workouts tend to build short, bulky muscles – the type most prone to injury. Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured."

Poppycock.

Hate me for it or love me for it, but I’ve gotta call it when I see it. I abhor flat out lies. On the other hand, is this just innocent ignorance?

Perhaps.

I apologize if I’ve offended lovers of Pilates but don’t believe the hype.

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