An interesting documentary has been circulating around the internet lately. It’s called “The Truth About Exercise”, and it busts some fitness myths with new exercise science.
Personally, I really liked it. I’m a fan of high intensity exercise, and I mentioned it briefly in the article ‘Conditioning Exercise 101‘.
Of course, where there’s extraordinary claims, there’s debate – but this is really new stuff in the exercise science world, so don’t expect things to be settled too soon.
Still, this information is pretty accurate and informative, and I highly recommend it. Here it is on YouTube, free to watch. Enjoy!
Here’s what I was thinking while watching:
2:45 – Lactic acid probably isn’t why exercise hurts – it’s more likely other chemicals. Lactic acid is actually important fuel for high intensity exercise. Just sayin!
8:00 – Yeah, exercise is a pretty bad way to lose weight. Not eating junk food is way more important – and easier (in terms of time and effort) if you can resist the temptation. Personally, that’s my problem. I love food.
9:30 – Benefits of exercise, however, are important and lifesaving. It’s not about the calories. See: ‘Why Strength Training is Important’.
12:00 – Sure, eating a fatty meal like that raises fat in your blood. Not really surprising. But a good question would be for how long? Once in a while probably isn’t going to kill you if you are already healthy, and as we see in a few minutes, if you exercise regularly.
16:30 – There’s your benefits of exercise. Really cool stuff. Again, stop dwelling on calories.
26:00 – I’m happy he said “I don’t know, it’s just a powerful indicator of health in epidemiological studies”. True, there is some debate around the test (not gonna get into it here) – but generally if your score is good, it means you’re healthier.
30:00 – Yes, the theory is still in its infancy, and needs much more research to figure out how it works – either way, it works. Still, you want to know how it works, to make sure this type of exercise isn’t missing something important.
41:00 – While this is all neat and interesting, what I want to know is how much it actually matters. No measurements of health markers we’re taken here! Just talk of calories.
42:45 – Okay, 500 calories extra – perhaps the equivalent of an hour of moderately intense exercise. A McDonalds carrot muffin has about 420 calories, just so you know. Don’t eat it.
44:00 – But again, burning calories is not why you should be more active – the benefits of exercise are different, and seriously important (as discussed previously).
44:16 – Bottom line, sitting is bad, even if you exercise. I’ve posted about this before. Note to self, get up and walk to washroom.
48:00 – I so badly wanna try one of those TMS machines. We don’t have one in the lab at my University… yet.
53:00 – Well there you go, it seems to have worked! However, his “experiment” has a huge confound: all the other stuff he’s done over the weeks (like trying to sit around a lot less)! He really should have tried both interventions separately.
55:00 – He’s a non-responder… interesting. I’d like to learn more about this. However, he did improve in the blood markers tested earlier. Moral of the story – exercise, even if you are a “non-responder”.
57:12 – “If you do long sessions in the gym, or jogging, and that’s what you enjoy, then great. But most of us don’t.” – In my opinion, this is a very important point. If we expect to raise the health of the general population, we need to make this information widely known. Kudos to this documentary for informing the general public.
Final thoughts – Keep in mind, this documentary was about exercise and it’s effects on health. You still need to exercise (the more appropriate term is probably train) an awful lot to become an elite athlete. Still, many of these lessons are important even to elite athletes – like the value of choosing a high intensity over high volume.
Overall, a great documentary, which has made me feel quite guilty simply sitting and watching. But it’s my day off – I’m gonna sit. Plus, I have practice later tonight. I will survive.