Thursday, 4 February 2010

Couch potatoes of the world unite

I’ve never managed to go jogging or take regular exercise at a gym and now it seems I no longer have to feel guilty. In mitigation, I’d like to say that I’ve always walked a lot and been careful not to eat and drink more than I need. And now the scientific community has endorsed my common sense approach to health with the publication of a report into the benefits of aerobic exercise.

According to the study conducted in association with the Human Genomics Laboratory in Louisiana and the Centre for Healthy Ageing at the University of Copenhagen, around 20% of the population derives no benefit from aerobic exercise. Apparently, it’s down to our genes. Some people can benefit from exercise, while we special 20% can’t, no matter how much we sweat. The study suggests that those of us with the couch-potato gene would be much better off giving up the exercise that can destroy knee and hip joints and concentrate on improving our diets and taking medication to ward off diabetes and heart disease.

So that’s settled then. I’ll just sit here in the warm and read a book and I’ll see the rest of you when you get back from your jog.


  1. At least some research is sensible

  2. God Bless the Americans :)

    Maybe the reason that modern Swedes don’t need to exercise is that their forefathers ate a lot of meat and did a lot of shivering. I would suggest that, traditionally, human beings lived for as long as they were fit enough and their brains bright enough. Exercise for its own sake is laughable and an underused brain doesn’t contribute very much to the betterment of mankind.

    Another survey about a year ago suggested that a couple of sociable hour-long exercise sessions a week in a gym [or its solitary equivalent at home] would be enough to keep desk-bound people fit for purpose within the modern concept of a lifestyle. Too much exercise incurs metabolic changes and wears out one’s joints. Too little, and our arteries fur up – though lifestyle stress is a significant contributor.

    Of course, a healthy diet may well reduce cholesterol levels, but cherry-picking ‘healthy’ foods from other national diets may be pointless. Other races have evolved suitable metabolisms to exploit the available staples (fruit, undercooked vegetables, potatoes, olive oil, pasta, rice, garlic sausage & red wine) – even over so short a time as a few generations, say a century or two. It may just be that in the UK, Nature will have a problem coming to terms with synthetic oils and fats, such that us Brits will not be able to evolve quickly enough to accommodate these chemical insults masquerading as healthy nourishment.

  4. I used to exercise to excess, now i just do a couple of bike rides a day and walk when i feel like it - guess what, i feel better now than when i was doing running and swimming to the point of exhaustion - everything in moderation. if you aren't enjoying it, don't do it!!but being a total slob is not good for you either!

  5. All animals have a finite number of heart beats. A mouse whose heart beats so fast has a short life span, an elephant or Blue Whale has a slow heart beat and a long life.
    Humans have a finite number of heart beats, so why intentionally run around, unless you have too to save your skin and thus shorten your life?
    Ask a cardiologist, very few undertake extreme fitness programmes. They enjoy sports and do all sorts of stuff but very few go jogging for miles or pound away like a hamster on a wheel at a gym tread mill.

  6. I am classed as morbidly obese, I was the roughly the same weight ten years ago, but then I was climbing over 200m at least once a week (servicing TV transmision Towers, 2 way towers etc.)

    I would don my hard hat, and safety harness, and climb to fix fault / change anti aircraft lights)

    I never managed to loose weight (apart from a 14day coma and getting bali belly in Indonesia (I lost over 30Kg on both occasions :( (muscle wastage and fluid loss))

    These days due to health problems I am not as fit as I was, but I am sure I will get fitter walking around Uni for the next 13 years ;)

    BUT on the flip side my mind is very active, I still design things around the house (I am about to finalise a project for a local electronics mag)


    Kat from Perth.

  7. Hi XTM, I don't do running but I was advised by my GP that any weight-bearing exercise is good for staving off osteoporosis in women. Unfortunately my walking and swimming don't qualify.


  8. 4 out of 5 get benefit from exercise and you are trying to claim it doesn't matter.
    It all turns on how long you want to live and possibly avoid gong senile. Still time will tell.

  9. Anonymous: It's humour. For goodness sake... Get a life!