Sunday, April 12, 2009

Back to the Gym

Tentatively made my way back to the gym on Friday morning for some upper-body weightlifting. It felt nice to break a sweat. I tried some cardio work by hanging my bad leg off the rowing machine and only using my good leg, and that certainly got my heart rate up, although I felt pretty weird doing it.

In the meantime, I found this article, which seemed to me like either a failure of science or a failure of science reporting. For one thing, the headline: "Very Obese Adults Almost Completely Sedentary." Okay, I hate to sound like a late-night TV host, but really, is this news? A more interesting question might be whether their sedentary nature is the cause of or an effect of their obesity.

So I read further. The study followed 10 morbidly obese subjects. Wait, you have a research study with 10 subjects? Fully a third of Americans are now obese now and you couldn't find more than 10 morbidly obese people to be in your study?

Here's what the researchers said about their study: "These results may provide important links between obesity, poor fitness and cardiovascular disease."

What?!?!? Those links haven't been established already? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills because we're studying CVD right now in one of my classes and I'm pretty sure it will be on the midterm that obesity and poor fitness are ALREADY on the list of risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Okay, yeah, the upshot of the study was that the subjects that were slightly more active did have higher fitness levels, despite being obese than the non-active subjects, but again, Duh, if you move more, you'll be in better shape, no matter what your size. I have to hope that the problem with this story lies in the reporting of it by Reuters and not in the actual study itself, which originally appeared in the medical journal Clinical Caridology. On the bright side, if this is the level of health reporting that's out there, I can see a whole new career avenue opening up to me ...

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