Saturday, November 27, 2021

YMMV Again

 Another article highlighting the fact that we're not simple machines, that what works for one person may not work for another, has hit the popular press.

 This time it's not diet but exercise they're speaking of. Some people, despite sticking closely to an exercise program, see no improvement in their fitness. They're called nonresponders.

 Unfortunately, most health care providers don't have the time to investigate your lifestyle closely, so if you are supposed to go on an exercise program but fail to improve your fitness, they probably think you're "cheating," and not exercising as much as you're supposed to. In some cases, that's probably true, but in others not. I wish I'd be prescribed a napping program, which I'm sure I'd follow religiously, but that has yet to happen.

 The results described in the cited article at first sound depressing. Who wants to lift weights for an hour if it doesn't do anything beneficial. But then, if you read the whole thing, you see that when one type of exercise doesn't work for a person, another type will. "No one had failed to respond at all. Every man and woman had measurably improved his or her fitness in some way after one of the sessions, if not the other."

So the secret is to try different types of exercise to see which seems to work best for you, and also to see which types you enjoy enough to keep doing. I hate running, because I have the wrong build for that, but I enjoy walking, and I don't mind lifting weights. So I never plan to run.

One problem with various studies is that their conclusions are usually based on the average results. A group does X and 90% of them improve factor Y. The headlines will all say something like "X improves Y," but you might be in the 10% who don't improve. Keep that in mind if you try it.

The chances are good that you will improve factor Y, so it's certainly worth trying. But if it doesn't improve, don't despair. Try something else.



  1. I hate all of it. I go to Silver Sneakers for the social aspect (and the oldies music). At least it keeps me moving.

  2. I listen to recorded books as I walk. Hate walking on a treadmill, even with a book, so I walk along a highway. Any kind of organized exercise means driving 5 miles or more, which seems like a bad idea.