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8 Cold, Hard Truths About Exercise

It's Time for an Exercise in Tough Love


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I won't deny that this article was hard to take in, however, no matter how discouraging it may seem...keep moving. No matter what, keep moving. Report
Some people have said this is depressing and discouraging - well I understand that. I suggest you try to see the bigger picture. You have to move, whether you call it exercise or not. If you stop moving you will lose alot. I have relatives that literally lost the ability to WALK because of inactivity. I'm 54, and yes it gets a little harder as you get older, but IMO "slowing down" will be detrimental. All the same, I'm dealing with a lower backache and sometimes my knees hurt. But neither one of those is as bad as having to use one of those electric carts in WalMart, or ending up a diabetic like my siblings. And yes, it's a little frustrating that the 1 1/2 hours I spend grocery shopping doesn't count as "exercise," but I also understand why it doesn't. Last year I did have some stomach problems that pretty much knocked me out of running, and I gained almost 10 lbs as a result. I'm trying to get back into running, and BOY, have I lost some strength and stamina! Of course I want to lose the weight, but I also want to build up my endurance and muscle tone for my back and knees. Like the author said, you gotta keep doing it - move it or lose it! Report
It's so important to like the exercise you do. I love triathlons and training for it, becuase it requires so many varieties of workouts that I can never get bored :) Report
While these certainly are truths, they are total bummers to contemplate. I am so tired of everything having to be so hard. Report
This is good. Thanks for sharing. Report
Needed to read that. Report
Of all the cold, hard truths mentioned, you skipped right over the very small impact that exercise has on weight loss. You would have to spend hours on a treadmill or other machine to even have the smallest impact on weight loss. Fitness level, musculature, yes, fine. Weight loss, no. Think about it: 200 C in one workout on the treadmill, 5 X per week (or the equivalent) and you've burned 1000 C, which is just over a quarter of a pound. While there are many benefits of exercise, weight loss is not always one of them. It's shamelessly oversold for that purpose. Report
Thanks for the concise list! I have had to self-discover a couple of these eight cold truths, and was in denial about some of them until recently. Unfortunately, it took me until age 58 to really pull it all together. I am still coming to terms on the ‘forever’ truth. I think there is a need to mention within the eight truths how increasingly important knowing these truths becomes as we age. Report
I don't find them depressing and discouraging!! If you work out on a regular basis you already know that you have to keep pushing harder when it gets easy!!!
Thanks I enjoyed the article it was confirmation!
Shake it up shape it up!! Report
I would add that things are not always as black and white as we might like to think. I earned a living in a construction trade similar to what Ironworkers do, that involved a lot of climbing, crawling, and moving all kinds of weights, sizes, and shapes of things if every conceivable direction and position. We used rigging tools for much of it but those tools are heavy and hard to wrestle with too. Certain people had reputations as being very strong, as well as fast, coordinated, and so on. None of them that I remember had ever lifted weights or done any other kind of formal exercise. They were all farm boys, who grew up on a farm working hard all the time. I'm sure genetics is a factor, and a weight program would have made them even stronger. But hard work day in and day out can make you strong and keep you in good shape. Not everybody does that kind of work, but I just wanted to make the point that even if something is not technically defined as exercise it can still make you strong. Report
Depressing and discouraging. Report
I think something can count as exercise if you only do it for a minute if it's so intense that it gets your heart beating really fast. If you do several sessions like that throughout the day it can be a valuable addition to a bigger exercise program.

If I spend a day working in my garden and by evening I'm so tired all I want to do is melt into my recliner and don't even feel like getting up to get a snack, I feel like I got some exercise, even though my heart rate might not have gone up. I guess now I should call it useful activity instead of exercise.

I remember years ago reading about exercise physiology, and one thing that sticks in my mind is what were called the three fundamental principles of exercise: overload, specificity, and reversibility. This article talked about the first and third. The second, specificity, is that training effect is specific to training stimulus: you get good at doing whatever it is you do in other words. I would add balance, like for example if you move weights in one direction you should also move weights in the opposite direction. And variety.

There have been a few times in my life when I was very active and did a lot of very intense exercise but still had a big belly and looked pregnant (but with good muscle tone), because I didn't exercise enough eating discipline. Report
what a delightful and motivating artricle, so if it doesnt matter anyway, might aswel all just vegetate on the couch and never indulge or enjoy life. wtf Report
Can you please cite things? Where is it proven that muscle strength can diminish after 2 days of rest? Report
What caught my attention was the comments about cal burn readouts being overinflated on exercise equipment, etc. I think that the fitness tracker on this site is way overinflated. I'm pretty sure that I don't burn 300 cals doing 9 sets of lifts with my 10# weights, for example. Report

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