Cranky Fitness Goes Political

I had lots to write about, things that seemed really interesting before but now they're all really, really stupid. In fact, all ideas are stupid. Because I'm stupid...
blather, wince, and repeat for a few pointless cycles

hugh laurie

Have you ever gotten yourself on the Stupid cycle? The soundtrack gets going in your mind and the next thing you know you're blaming yourself for the Great Potato Famine and the invention of 'child-proof' medicine caps. (Children are about the only people who seem able to open those dang things.)

So, since I was feeling stupid... I decided it was time to go into politics.

Must... resist... urge... to ... include... pertinent... picture of a certain politician... not shown here...

Cranky Fitness Goes Political

I'm thinking of forming a new political party: The Cranky Fitness Party.

Our Platform: freedom of whining about exercise, and a cupcake in every kitchen.

Or maybe that's our motto, and our platform should be something that people can actually stand upon. Since standing on cupcakes is usually a short-lived and mushy enterprise at best.

Stand up for your rights ... and walk for them too...

Included in our constitution is going to be the right to a daily constitutional.

Look, newsflash here, but you have the right to exercise. It wasn't officially enshrined in any kind of political constitution, but that's because it was so basic a necessity those guys figured we didn't need it in writing. I mean, why do you think a walk is called a 'constitutional', eh?

If you look up the word "constitutional" the first two definitions have nothing to do with any kind of government.

1. (adj) constitutional
a regular walk taken as a form of exercise

2. (adj) constitutional
of benefit to or intended to benefit your physical makeup

What's wrong with just taking a daily walk? It might not have the cachet of a whole marathon, but a brisk walk can get you breathing faster -- especially if hills or stairs are involved.

Want to sneak in exercise?

Sneak out for a quickie at lunch

- tell your husband/wife/significant other that you want to meet them
for a quickie at lunch. They don't need to know that it's a quick walk until you get them outside enjoying all that fresh air.
- stuff the kids in a stroller, side-bicycle, or car trunk, depending on whether they're toddlers or teenagers and just get out the door. Once you're at the park, it'll be easy enough to encourage them to get out and run around.
- tell the boss that a walk at lunch will save heaps o' money, since you'll be more awake and productive and not drink so much coffee in the afternoon.
- tell your friends that walking and talking is a great way to lose weight /and/ gossip at the same time.

And if they like science, you can throw studies at them.

Remember the researchers who got obese mice hooked on exercise and
then took away their wheel? They found an amazing 100% increase in fatty liver disease. (I'm still amazed about that. It's rare to have 100% in any study.)

Now some other researchers have gotten smart and studied the reverse
in people, i.e. what happens when you get people to exercise.

I didn't like the size of the study, 19 is a small group, but I liked some other things that they did.

- They studied people who lived a sedentary lifestyle and were obese, i.e. with body mass index >30 kg/m2 (Yes, I know some people can have a high BMI and still be fit, but those people are not living a sedentary lifestyle)

- Some of the group did the placebo route, with some stretching thrown
in, while the rest did aerobic cycling for four weeks.

- The scientists measured specific, quantifiable stuff like "hepatic triglyceride concentration (HTGC) and hepatic lipid saturation index (SI), intramyocellular triglyceride (IMTG) levels, visceral adipose tissue (VAT) or amount of fat stores in the abdomen, cardiorespiratory fitness, blood biochemistry..."

After four weeks, they checked the results:

- Body weight and BMI didn't change

- cardio fitness was up in the cycling group, though not the placebo people

- There was a 21% reduction in HTGC (bad triglycerides) and 12% VAT volume (fat in the abdominal area) in the group that did the aerobic cycling.

"Our data provides the first direct experimental evidence that regular aerobic exercise reduces fatty liver in obesity without concurrent changes in body weight or abdominal fat," explained researchers.

I thought this study was important because I know a lot of obese people who figure they'll lose weight only by weight lifting. That way of thinking seems especially common among men.

A lot of women, small or large, think it's "icky" to do aerobics because they'll get sweaty. (Someone please introduce these women to the concept called "a shower"!) Likewise, a lot of larger people don't want to get up and move around because of wobble issues.

Merry's philosophy, summed up in two lines

"People will point and laugh," they say.
"Screw 'em," I say. "Work out anyway."

Not a rant against Fat Acceptance

This is not an anti-Fat Acceptance rant. The people in the FA movement, so far as I understand it, believe that it's possible to be healthy even if they're not thin. I'm just saying to be healthy, especially if you're obese, you need the aerobic exercise.

Especially when you know it has a direct influence on your health.

Exercise your constitutional right today!

Speaking of stupid, or at least strange, here's a video. I am not sure what it is supposed to be advertising, or why the people in the clip behave the way they do, but the special effects were kinda cool.

Washington at night photo credit: Laura Padgett
Washington and a bunch of other presidents photo credit: Loscili

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