Exercise May be Risky – Really?

Could exercise really be bad for some healthy people?  Really? The answer to this recent controversy is – it depends.

The new report used six different sound studies involving 1,687 people. The results of this provocative research is that 10% of the participants got worse not better from cardio-exercise as it affects heart related alleged risk factors for heart disease: HDL cholesterol – which may not be all that bad for you, triglycerides, blood pressure and insulin levels.

Consider for a moment a different perspective flipping the statistics to 90% of the participants whose risk factors improved. The weakness and the problem with short-term studies is that they do not follow people long enough to see if improvements translate into few heart attacks or longer lives. Rather, researchers infer from the data and inference at best is weak. For example, did the 10%with adverse response to exercise actually suffer from more heart attacks or worse health outcomes? This is hypothesis-guessing not proof.

No intervention including exercise, drugs, or lifestyle change work for everyone. So why is it surprising that exercise that reduces heart-related risks for 90% of the participants doesn’t work for 10% of the participants? Maybe it does just not short-term and the inference might be to watch them long-term to measure the outcomes.

Claude Bouchard, lead author of the study and professor of genetics and nutrition at Louisiana State University also reports that there’s now way to predict if you are part of the 90% or the 10% based on gender, age, fitness level, fitness improvement, or those taking medication. There wasn’t anything that predicted who would have a positive or a negative outcome.

What we do know is that exercise has a price – and that for most the improvement in mental, emotional, weight-management, and other health and physical outcomes is enormous versus the possibility of one increased risk for a heart-related issue. The great outcome of aerobic activity far outweighs any other factor. Every body and everybody needs to move – period.

Sally Edwards, CEO Heart Zones USA finishing the Danskin Triathlon in Austin, Texas June 3, 2012 volunteering as the final finisher. The second to the last finisher pictured in the middle, Irene, started training at 400 pounds to do her first triathlon and lost 160 pounds to compete.

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