Saturday, February 02, 2008

Another dumb article on exercise and aging

I'm guessing Gina Kolata has entered the death zone of middle-age and has started grasping at straws. It's the only explanation for the credulous tone of her article on how exercise can slow our entropic decline:
Staying a Step Ahead of Aging - New York Times:

...Their results are surprising, even to many of the researchers themselves. The investigators find that while you will slow down as you age, you may be able to stave off more of the deterioration than you thought. Researchers also report that people can start later in life — one man took up running at 62 and ran his first marathon, a year later, in 3 hours 25 minutes.

It’s a testament to how adaptable the human body is, researchers said, that people can start serious training at an older age and become highly competitive. It also is testament to their findings that some physiological factors needed for a good performance are not much affected by age...

...But Dr. Hagberg found that studies of aging athletes sometimes were distorted because they included people who had cut back on or stopped training...

So these researchers showed that athletes who don't stop doing intense exercise can be more fit that most middle-aged people.

Gee, I wonder why most athletes stop doing intense exercise. Injury? Aging?

There's nothing surprising about these results, and they hold no new lessons for us. We know not everyone ages at the same rate. We know some people have better athletic genes than others. We expect some people get both sets of genes. We know even demented 80 yos in nursing homes improve their lives when put on a weight training program.

Gina, you can do better than this. You must by now know the difference between an observational and an experimental study ...

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