Finding facts on health and fitness can be quite confusing as you try to sift through the marketing and hype. You need to be constantly wary of overblown claims and misquoted research. The issue is that it would be hard to sell products or services with the information that is provided by the health services.
Let’s quickly go over the benefits of exercise according to our own HSE (Health Service Executive). None of their claims are bold, intriguing or shocking.
Improves cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness
Improves cognitive function in older adults
Plays an integral role in weight management in combination with diet
Lowers the risk of strokes, coronary heart disease and early death
Lowers the risk of high blood pressure, unhealthy blood lipid profile and type 2 diabetes
Lowers risk of metabolic syndrome, colon and breast cancer
Reduces the number of falls
Reduces levels of depression
Lower risk of hip fracture
Lower risk of lung cancer and endometrial cancer
Stronger bone density
Better sleep quality
Reduced abdominal fat
These are the facts as recognised by our government most of the other facts on health and fitness will be extrapolations or exaggerations of preliminary findings from academic studies. These often mesh with peoples own biases causing to have slightly misguided views on fitness.
Here are some sample quotes from an article piece on a fitness magazines website:
“we’ve known for a while that red wine is good for heart health, a recent European study says it’s actually just as good for you as exercise”
“Studies have even found that masturbation is almost as good as the high you get from running”
“Research from the National Institutes of Health shows that having a cheat day (or a few of ’em) isn’t as bad as you think”
This article is one that cites studies and institutes but I would imagine that any of the researchers involved in those studies would be reluctant to make the same bold claims that the author does. The article is almost intentionally misleading to cater to the readers existing habits and behaviours. Unfortunately based on the sheer volume of evidently misleading articles similar to this one there is clearly a market out there for people who are willing to be mislead.