Sunday, February 24, 2013
Is Exercise Everything? (1st Respondent)
I personally found it interesting that the articles 7 Myths About Physical Activity and Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity almost seem to contradict each other. 7 Myths encourages people to engage in any physical activity no matter how small. Even something as small as walking up the stairs instead of the escalator or being more active at recess. However, the Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity article suggests that current Western lifestyles are not that different in expended energy from that of hunter gatherers. It seems that getting a better workout may not be the cure all for obesity. That does not mean that exercise is not important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and decreasing risks for diseases such as coronary heart disease and breast cancer.
In regards to total energy expenditure, I was surprised at how similar it was between Westerners and hunter gatherers. Granted, the study is not perfect, but I typically picture Westerners as people who sit behind desks all week and eat Wendy's for lunch. The article on Hunter-Gatherers mentioned that most of the group's nutrition came from some wild game, honey, and fruits. I wonder if food consumption has more to do with obesity than exercise levels. Fruits are significantly lower in calorie than a Jr bacon cheese burger. Energy expenditure may be similar, but calorie consumption may be different.
Personally, I believe that exercise should be encouraged in order to prevent diseases, not obesity. I would be far more motivated to go to the gym if I knew that I had a 10% higher chance of developing breast cancer otherwise. In my experience, many of my friends will opt for a salad instead of a treadmill. While salads should also be encouraged, the exercise is just as important and should not be substituted for diet. Activity levels can affect lifespan, weight, and disease rates. I believe that it is important to live a healthy lifestyle which includes so much more than just exercise.