Sunday, December 2, 2012

Too much aerobic bashing?

A couple of days ago I posted a video of James O'Keefe talking about the potential dangers of running too much.   His research and presentation has got a fair bit of coverage - e.g. in the Wall Street Journal.

His position and presentation are quite compelling, but perhaps are not the whole story.

Alex Hutchinson points out some of the concerns about the research :

The Too-Much-Running Myth Rises Again

The Sock Doc also has just written a post closely examining O'Keefe's argument and the way in which it has been popularised.  Definitely worth reading:

Remember: Always health first, fitness second. So train smart and train hard when you can and you’re ready to do so. Training hard is good for you, but do not do such extreme training too often. I love training hard, but I am intentional about it and only when my health is optimal and my movement is efficient

I think possibly we are all on the same side here, just misunderstanding each other a bit.


Joakim Waern said...

In what way do you misunderstand each other?

Chris said...

Maybe misunderstand is the wrong word. I am just aware that people argue very much from their prejudices, their commitments to their own positions. I also think that the way in which these things are presented in the media are different from what is being said sometimes.

FeelGoodEating said...

Information is good...but we always need to keep "thinking on our own also"
What do I mean? These studies are interesting.....and as much as they do make sense, I also have my own life observations.
I've know several old runners (82, 73, 67 respectively) and they are the most wonderful people, full of piss and vinegar and in great GREAT shape compared to most others their age. Trust me when I tell you that research presented does not apply to them in the least bit.

Like nutrition, the principles are straightforward but there are just so many variables.
I.e: life long runners might suffer some injuries or even life long nagging injuries , but the flip side is that they are committed, focused , disciplined and happy people through their running hobby...........again flip side .....some are obsessive and many variables.


Doug McGuff, MD said...


I honestly never thought I would live long enough to see the pendulum swing this far in the opposite direction. I probably have led the charge and to some extent was "ahead of my time".

However, the same argument can be made for those in the HIT and Crossfit crowds who love this sort of stuff. We ALL must remember exercise is a hormetic stimulus. Apply too much and it is no longer hormetic. Health always requires a balance between anabolic and catabolic forces regardless of the modality involved.

Chris said...


thanks for the comment.You have indeed lead the movement in many ways, with other HIT folk, focusing on the need to recover and rebuild to baseline.

I think the balance is that normal activity is also important - there are enough studies now about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. Too much running or too much of anything will be bad, but the answer is not inactivity, but maybe more of the power law distribution that Art DeVany used to talk about - a few hard sessions and lots of each low intensity movement. Clarence Bass has called this has Barbell strategy - weighted at each end - the hard and the easy.

Bill said...

I didn't get the impression that Mr. O'Keefe's presentatation was "aerobics bashing" in any way. He states that if you could put the effects of exercise into a pill that it would put doctors out of business. It just doesn't take that much to get nearly the full health benefits and "too much" could reduce that benefit. If you get off through hard training and competition, then go for it. As far as health, the message needs to get out to "normal" folk that even just a little exercise can result in great health benefits.

Jimmy Gee said...

I think that as analytical techniques improve and more reliable health markers become established (not as simple as typical blood panel administered during routine physicals) so too will come improvements in our understanding of the effects of diet and exercise (lifestyle in general) on our longevity and vitality. In particular, I have recently been reviewing information from Dr. Mike Nichols ( who advocates whole foods and proper exercise, basing his understanding on actual in-depth medical examinations over time. Truly interesting.