973741 tn?1342342773

Lack of exercise worse for you than smoking?

A new study came out making this claim.  Longevity and cardiac health dependent on regular exercise.  It stated that the more aerobic exercise you have, the longer your life will likely be.  

Motivating for sure!  Thoughts?
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Avatar universal
Sounds pretty bogus to me.  What I know is that there are several longitudinal studies going for years to determine who lives the longest and healthiest and least obese lives.  It's those who follow the so-called Mediterranean Diet, though only one community studies is actually in the Mediterranean.  Few of these people exercise formally.  They don't live sedentary lives, they walk or ride bikes instead of drive, eat balanced diets with low intake of red meat, the basics.  But they don't go to gyms, they don't go around jogging, for the most part.  I think where aerobic exercise comes in is in societies where people are sedentary, such as in the US where so many sit and watch TV or their video devices and sit at desks most of the time.  But aerobic exercise also leads to injuries, more and more of them as we age, which leads to surgeries and drugs, which leads to death.  Lots of ways to get sick and to die out there.  I'm guessing there's a Goldilocks amount of exercise out there, not "the more" you get.  Just getting enough.  Too much is harmful.  Too little is harmful.  But again, you look at those studies, and they aren't obsessing over exercise.  Wonder who paid for this study.  Cigarettes kill.  Lack of exercise?  Really?
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973741 tn?1342342773
You don't think it has anything to do with exercising the heart muscle?
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I do.  In a sedentary society, you need to exercise.  I also personally think, and this is not going to be in mainstream medicine's analysis, that rigorous aerobic exercise speeds things through the body.  An interesting analysis of health was made by a naturopath that the bad things in life stick in you and the good things pass through.  Exercise helps things keep moving.  I can tell a big difference since I had to stop doing aerobic exercise, and especially since I had to stop doing all exercise.  When I get sick now, I can't just go out and and run it out of me as I used to do.  I can't run food off, so I often feel bloated because my body was so used to exercising heavily.  I think it helps keep us regular.  I really really miss it.  But all that is a totally different question from whether or not formal exercise increases life span or health.  The answer to that seems to be no, based on the researchers who study large groups of people in different places in the world over long periods of time.  These people eat a certain way no matter where they are, but they don't formally exercise.  They do, however, live lives that aren't sedentary -- as I said, they walk, bike, and the like instead of drive everywhere.  They don't spend all their time playing video games or watching TV or looking at their phones.  They still live in an earlier time, you might say, where each day you walk to the store to get what you need for that day.  But if you don't live in that type of society, exercise is what compensates somewhat for that.  It doesn't compensate completely -- you can't make up for sitting around all day by going to the gym for an hour.  Doesn't work that way. So yes, it does exercise the heart, but if your heart is strong because you live a life that doesn't harm it, the heart does fine.  The US lifestyle is one of the most unhealthy in the world.  We eat too much meat.  We eat too much.  We drive too much.  We live isolated lives.  We define success in life not by how happy we are but by how much we accumulate, which is very stressful.  We are awash in pollution.  If you aren't rich, you can't get a lot of necessary things.  Which is also stressful.  Because we're so wealthy, we could fix all of this, but given the trends right now, we're heading in the exact opposite direction.  So given this, yes, exercise is absolutely necessary.  But it also damages the body.  That's the double-edged sword of exercise -- if you exercise enough to realize the benefit you're talking about, and that wouldn't include walking or yoga or all of that, it would only include heavy cardiovascular exercise that stresses the heart enough to strengthen it but also stresses the feet and the joints and the muscles as you age.  Which is why orthopedic surgeons are so plentiful in the US.  Exercise gave me a strong heart, liver, kidneys, and that means at 65 I'm not in any danger of dying, but I'm also in pain all the time from all the things I damaged doing that exercise.  If you could live a life that gave you the benefits without the damage, it would be better, and the studies show you can do that by eating better and living a non-sedentary life and living a less stressful and competitive life.  Different ways to get there.  Now, if you're lucky and incredibly strong and you never get injured, it's a different story.  You only know that at the end, not at the beginning, when we're all strong.  In the US we live long, sick lives.  There is a better way, though it's too late for me to undo all that heavy exercise now and the damage done to me by doctors.  So, bottom line, Mom, if you live a typical American life, by all means, do cardio.  Also do some resistance.  If you manage to escape the typical American life, you might not need it.
Well, I guess I am more focused on a more typical American life because most of us are typical Americans that are posting here.  I run around all day, literally, lifting laundry baskets, doing yard work, walking up flights of stairs and it is not enough to keep my heart healthy.  
And PS:  the article was NOT referring to 'heavy cardiovascular' exercise depending on what you consider that.  Brisk walking or interval walking to where you are breathing hard is on the list. But I can do more than that physically and do.  I can still run, do exercise classes, etc.
And I'm not young. I wish I were young, I'm not.  
I think if you run around all day you're half way there -- that's a non-sedentary life.  But whatever the article said, walking isn't going to get you out of breath long enough to stress the heart unless you're way out of shape or not fit for exercise because of health problems.  I did a lot of walking, which is what killed off the last of me when the hips went, but even walking for two and a half hours on hilly bike trails and in the woods didn't get me out of breath at any time.  And I walked faster than some people jog.  It's like weight lifting -- if it doesn't get to the point where it's uncomfortable, if it isn't hard, you aren't going to build muscle.  You build muscle by damaging muscle, and it gets larger when it repairs itself.  The heart is a muscle, and it has the same characteristics as any other muscle.  A lot depends on the fitness level you're at when you change to a different form of exercise.  If you're like me, and you've played basketball and run and practiced kung fu for years and years, walking isn't aerobic.  If you've done little in the way of exercise in you life, and you start doing anything no matter how light, it will make a difference.  A big difference.  As for your focus on typical American lives, my focus is on helping the people who post on here.  The typical American life is unhealthful, so anyone posting here for help has to change from that to something else or they'll stay as they are.  The true typical American isn't posting on these alternative health forums.  Americans in most of the country between the coasts are fat and content being fat.  Which is fine by me as long as they're happy, as I think being happy is more important than how long one lives.  I guess that's because I'm not happy anymore due to reasons you know well from the other forums we share.  But I was pretty amazed recently when my brother mailed me some old pictures I didn't know existed when I was young.  They were school pictures, and everyone was thin.  No obesity.   For the majority of people on here, the advice you give is perfect.  Most of them are not regular exercisers.  Now, this forum used to be full of people who exercised a lot and were injured and trying to get back to what they wanted to do and people looking for healthier ways of living, but it seems to be changing to more of another weight loss forum.  But Mom, to me, you're young.  It only gets worse, so enjoy it.      
Your thoughts do not match the American Heart Association's stance on exercise.  
How old do you think I am?  I was a career person first before I managed to eek out a couple of kids at the age that most moms are finished.  I've been asked if I'm my kid's grandma.  I kid you not.  
Are you 65?  I am.  I just assume you're younger than that, but I know you're not a youngster.  Youngster?  Boy, when you start using words like that, you really know you're old.  As for the American Heart Association, I'm not pretending I know everything they say, but while they are an organization that purports to support heart health and sometimes does, they are largely a lobbying organization for a particular form of medicine.  But hey, I agreed, aerobic exercise does strengthen the heart muscle if you do enough exercise, and if you've never done a lot of exercise, then anything you do will be helpful.  All I really said that is contrary doesn't come from me, it comes from long-term studies that are being done on what people eat and how they live and how it affects life-span and obesity and health.  Those studies show that of the communities studied, the ones with the longest life spans, least obesity, and greatest health live in places where they don't live sedentary lives but they don't live in places where formal exercise is all that prevalent.  I can't help that that's what they found.  It goes against what I believed.  It just is what it is.  Nobody has to live their lives according to that, if they choose to follow what the American Heart Association likes, then we're all going to be on statins (killing our livers and joints in the process) because there is some evidence (and a lot of contrary evidence) that lower cholesterol is good for your heart.  We're all going to be on BP meds, because as with statins, the standards keep going lower and lower, notwithstanding the contrary evidence and the harm medication does.  So you have a great heart but you can't walk more than a block.  You're alive, but who wants to live that way?  It's like belonging to AARP, which I haven't joined yet.  It exists mainly to sell stuff, but on the side it also does do some lobbying for old folks.  You take the bad with the good when you cite these organizations.  Everyone gets to decide for themselves how to live.  I don't make the decisions.  I just muddy the water so folks know there are other scientists out there publishing other things most of us don't hear about.  Who is right?  Who knows?  And I still say, you're doing a lot of work here, where is everyone who used to participate here?  
For the sake of those reading, what is required for cardiac health that is repeated over and over from doctors from NYU Medical that host Satellite Radio with set doctors hosting programs and a continual flow of guest doctors that also participate and the American Heart Association is that THIRTY MINUTES  of exercise that is moderate (WALKING INCLUDED) every day for FIVE days a week is what the heart muscle needs to stay healthy.  It can be broken up into blocks of time if someone does not have a full thirty minutes but must be at least TEN minutes at one time for the cardiac affect.  Anything more than that is great but this is the point that clinical studies have shown that a difference was made.  That's it, luck to all
We all have our own experiences and you've been burned a lot by yours in your life time.  I'm not sure it's the norm. But it is your normal.  I speak from what I'm told by my doctors, what I read, etc. as well as my own experience.  We all do I guess.  Lots of people read this forum.  I had some numbers shared with me as I'm a CL on a few forums and I figure these are subjects that benefit many and 'maybe' someone will be enticed to share their thoughts. :))
Mom, what you just said is a different issue.  The issue you raised was aerobic exercise.  That term is usually used to mean stressing the heart, meaning you exercise to the point that you start to have trouble catching your breath.  You don't overdo it, but that's what it usually refers to.  If you're asking is exercise good for you, yes, of course it is.  That would include all exercise, including walking, yoga, tai chi, anything.  It's all good.  Not sure what "experiences" I have you're denigrating.  Not sure why you're denigrating me.  My bad experiences were with one psychiatrist and one dentist.
By the way, if you already knew the answer and that was the only answer you were going to accept, can I ask, why did you ask the question instead of just saying docs at NYU recommend 30 minutes of exercise a day?  I assumed you wanted some input.  I was hoping others would come on here and disagree with both of us.  That's how we learn.  Peace, Mom.
Avatar universal
too much exercise can be harmful to the heart
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