Benefits of being less active ...

Discussion in 'Gator Country Health and Fitness' started by Dreamliner, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I know; sounds heretical. But activity levels have not declined since 1980. And the average energy expenditure of an American is on par with mammals in the wild.

    On a personal level, roughly half my clients were already exercising when they came to me, complaining about not being able to lose weight. And as a specific example, when I asked a morbidly-obese, middle-aged client to wear a pedometer for 72 hours, so as to gauge general activity, she averaged 7,000 steps a day.

    Yes, yes, there are some Americans who are total slugs and could easily afford to incorporate increasing activity into their lifestyle. And I think you all know how I feel about everybody getting a little bit of basic strength training.

    But back to my morbidly obese client - and the central problem - quite obviously, inactivity wasn't the reason for her obesity. Her food journal suggested that she was getting enough calories to fuel a male athlete half her age.

    Plus, exercising a lot can make you hungry and will almost certainly lead to reward eating. Even more problematic, if you become accustomed to engaging in prodigious levels of exercise, will you be willing and able to radically dial back food consumption if you have to curtail exercising ?

    Another good reason to monitor activity levels (again, I understand that some could afford to be more active): lesser levels of activity enable you to acclimate yourself by how little food is required to nourish the human body. When you're an exercise hound, energy activity can vary wildly, day-to-day, and make it difficult to calibrate caloric needs.

    Finally, I doubt that we're a good deal less active than our primitive ancestors. Seriously, did they endeavor to exhaust themselves through activity, as we do, for 'health benefits' ? Of course not. I gather that they sought to conserve energy. I suspect that they exerted themselves when crises were thrust upon them.

    Let the teeth-gnashing and fist-waving begin!

    PS: I'm not telling anyone not to go for it, not to 'scratch the itch.' I understand all that and can relate. I'm just sayin ...
  2. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    And to say nothing of the rick of repetitive strain injuries from exercising a lot ...
  3. mastoidbone
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    mastoidbone VIP Member

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    Given famine and scarcity of food i suspect efficiency and calorie conservation were key to survival. I also suspect in areas where food was not plenty, pre-agriculture, that humans were EXTREMELY active in searching for game and gathering.

    I suspect the LESS active peoples survived in greater numbers and thus we did not select for the most capable athletic humans....those forced to use alot of calories in food gathering likely died at greater rates.
  4. Potzer01
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    Potzer01 Premium Member

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    Our "primitive" fore-fathers understood that eating was required for hunger. Not because it was lunch time.

    This goes back to what you've consistently preached, control intake, period.
  5. Chirogator
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    Chirogator Member

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    While we undoubtedly had lots of down time in our hunter gatherer days I think that was probably interspersed between times of high levels of activity while we were out hunting, gathering, hiking, etc. This topic definitely speaks to ideas like caloric restriction and intermittent fasting and is probably reflective that optimal activity levels lie somewhere along an inverted-U curve (as well as optimal feeding levels). Running marathons is probably at odds with our genetics but so is being a 24/7 couch potato.
  6. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    I accuse my own industry of helping to create the couch potato. In general, the fitness industry STILL conveys that it's all about exercise. Eating according to one's needs and general activity get short shrift.

    Moreover, the industry also conveys that one must embark upon an exercise program and stick to it, say, 8 to 12 weeks to accrue any meaningful benefits.

    Nonsense. Obviously, there is a difference between acute and chronic effects. But how many more people could we persuade to get off their duffs if they knew that the number of exercise sessions required to begin to accrue health benefits was ... 1 ?
  7. holloffamer
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    holloffamer New Member

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    You make a great point. I personally wouldn't actually as I'm too lazy and I wish for instant gratification.

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