It’s something you commonly see. Example: “The average person walking half an hour a day would lose about 13 pounds a year”.
Recently a study actually had sedentary folks start exercising an HOUR a day, 6 days a week for a year. One would think they’d lose, what, more than 13 pounds on average, right?
The women lost an average of 3 pounds and the men an average of 4 pounds. Both groups appear to have gained muscle, since they lost a bit more in total fat than in overall weight. The average fat loss was 4lb for women, 6.6lb for men … which is still less than the 13 pounds they’re “supposed” to lose if they’d walked 30 minutes a day.
So, er, how’s that again? Is an hour of aerobic exercise a day actually less work than a half an hour of walking “on average”? Or is the math on this sort of stuff just totally fucked?
Of course, the other frustrating thing is that this reinforces the idea that exercise is only valid if it causes weight loss. Fun, improved mental functioning, increased stamina, increased strength, increased flexibility – those don’t count. In this mindframe, the only thing that matters is becoming thin. Only then will you be acceptable.
Here’s a better goal, for me:
Many of us confuse mental fatigue and stress with physical fatigue and forget that nothing energizes the mind and body like exercise. […]
[B]eing fit, at its core, is about function, not form. That’s the focus of top athletes. Being fit means having the ability to do what you need, whatever that may be. It could be skiing without getting injured or doing your job without letting your job undo you. […] “Functional fitness” is all the rage now, but it’s just rediscovering what we began to ignore. Fitness always has been about function — long before gimmicks and gizmos and guilt fogged focus and before body beautiful overtook body awareness.
Unfortunately, the newspaper where I first read this felt the need to include “how to calculate BMI” and “calories burned by various activities” along with this focus on functionality. Do they really feel that feeling good and functional fitness isn’t enough, you also have to be thin? Or do they think readers would demand the information on losing weight?
Oh: Exercise won’t make you skinny, either.