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Study makes bizarre conclusion: Exercise may not help everyone

Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, US had 742 people complete a 20 week exercise program. None of the study participants had exercised in the prior 6 months. At the end of the study, some had a measured increase in oxygen consumption, but some showed no change, says an article published in New Scientist December 2, 2004.

The best responders to exercise in this study increased oxygen consumption by 40%, the average increase was 17%, and some had no increase. Similar patterns of adaptation were found for insulin response and other physiological parameters.

The researchers concluded something that has been suggested in other research; there seems to be a difference in the "trainability" between humans, further suggesting that exercise may not work at all for some.

Wow. Suggesting there may be no benefit to exercise is a real stretch, especially when you find out study participants exercised only 3 times per week for 50 minutes each time - and that's just for the final 6 weeks (they did less prior to that). That's 28% less than the minimum amount of exercise suggested for healthy living - 30 minutes per day, and only 36% of the latest recomendation of 60 minutes per day. So when people do less than the lowest amount of exercise required for healthy living for 6 weeks and even less for the preceding 14 weeks, some may not benefit? Is this really a surprise? Not exactly Nobel Peace Prize work.

In fact another recent study at Brown University looked at 2500 people who lost 60 pounds and kept it off for a year exercised for 60 minutes per day, twice as much as the minimum recommendation of 30 minutes per day that was recommended in the 1996 US Surgeon Generals Report.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in October 2003 published the results of a study that showed those who burned off 2500 calories per week lost more fat than those who burned off 1000 calories per week. While this is certainly a no-brainer, what the study really shows is that the older recommendation of 30 minutes of exercise per day, which typically results in about 1000 - 1500 calories per week is not as productive as 60 minutes per day which can burn off 2000 - 2500 calories per week. OK, that's a no-brainer as well. All study participants consumed a diet with no more than 20% of their food from fat, and about 1500 calories per day total intake.

I support the idea that not every person responds to exercise to the same degree, meaning that some persons may need more or less exercise to get the same response. It is irresponsible to suggest that some humans may not have any benefit from exercise, especially in light of so much research continually proving that in fact more exercise is better than less exercise.

In my practice, I have never once had one person out of about 3000 people I have trained, show no response to exercise. Every single person was able to produce more power (Went faster on a treadmill or stationary bike) with greater ease and lower heart rate after only a few weeks of regular exercise.

With greater clinical accuracy through blood lactate testing, each and every person I train shows lower blood lactate concentration for the same heart rate and same level of resistance (power or speed) within the first two to three weeks of regular exercise. All coaches who use lactate sampling report the same results, accounting for thousands of individuals.

I was horrified when I saw the researchers at Louisiana University make the conclusion that some may not benefit from exercise. In my opinion this was an unfounded premature conclusion that conflicts with other studies, and the common experience all coaches through all of human history. When researchers interpret results from their single studies, it is important not to disregard what we have learned already.

To those reading this, rest assured; regular long term exercise will produce positive effects in all persons who are cleared by a physician to exercise. You have to keep at it as well; discontinuing exercise takes away the stimulus and causes your body to lose any fitness gained through exercise. - Regular exercise and healthy eating are part of your lifestyle.

- Cris LaBossiere

2004 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness www.rhinofitness.ca



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