The New York Times ran a story today about the potential negative effects of exercise on a small part of the population.
In analyzing the data from six different rigorous exercise studies involving 1,687 people, about 10% got worse in at least 1 or more measures related to heart disease. These included insulin levels, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
About 7% of those tested showed a decline in 2 or more factors.
The results were not related to age, race or gender. They also were not affected by how fit the people were at the start of the program, or how much their fitness levels improved. There appears to be no correlation between the decline in health measurements and any other factor.
There is great concern that this gives inactive people an excuse not get moving.
While the article is interesting, yet inconclusive, the 300 comments are more fascinating.
Many are questioning the other factors not followed in the study: diet, sodium intake and what type of exercise was done. There is no reference to these individual’s genetics. There is also concern that the subjects were not followed long enough to know what, if any effect this had on mortality rates.
Most agree on one thing: the benefits seem to out weigh the risks. There are many more pieces of research supporting the positive outcome of exercise, than this small study. Perhaps fitness is another place where “one size” does not fit all.
Stay tuned for more on this controversial topic.