Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Exercise bad for you?

My almost religious devotion to exercise has been slightly nudged by this piece by Gina Kolata pointing to a study by Bouchard et al., who do a rather thorough exercise study involving 1,687 people to find that
...about 10 percent actually got worse on at least one of the measures related to heart disease: blood pressure and levels of insulin, HDL cholesterol or triglycerides....But counterbalancing the 10 percent who got worse were about the same proportion who had an exaggeratedly good response on at least one measure. Others had responses ranging from little or no change up to big changes, seen in about 10 percent, where risk factor measurements improved anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent.


  1. This observational study doesn't explain the cause of this changes in the 10% of the exercisers. It could be they overcompensate eating more junk food.

  2. At first, I was worried, but it looks like the NYT blog is saying that exercise is not an effective intervention for that 10 percent. I'm pretty devoted to exercise as well so I'm happy to see that the activity itself isn't what was bad for them.