In an era when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging Americans to ramp up physical activity levels to combat rising obesity rates, there are skeptics who do not believe the fitness gospel. This may seem odd given the overwhelming science-based evidence released by various researchers and medical experts over the years. However, such skepticism may not look so odd and surprising if you dig a little bit deeper and consider their arguments. Here is a look at some of the different perceptions regarding fitness:
The Myth of Fitness Consensus within the Medical Community
Before proceeding further, it is worth busting the myth that fitness skeptics are uninformed, uneducated, or simply ignorant people. A similar vein runs across the medical community and it is impossible to ignore their views. Some medical experts believe that many so-called medical truths on fitness are based on nothing more than unsubstantiated medical claims.
A good example is the widely held view that weight loss reduces risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, certain types of cancer, and diabetes. One of the largest studies ever conducted to test this theory generated interesting and unexpected results. Researchers involved in this study tracked and examined 43,265 subjects from 1979 to 2003. The results published in the European Heart Journal stunned the medical world because they showed one could be obese but metabolically fit and unlikely to die from diseases that affect people in the same category. In addition, they showed one could have a normal BMI but be metabolically unhealthy and likely to die prematurely.
These findings and others have caused some sections of the medical community to question the mantra fat loss is a marker of good health. In spite of these doubts, skepticism is a key aspect of many science-based fields including medicine because it spurs researchers to test theories and determine if they pass muster under intense deductive reasoning.
Factors Fueling Fitness Skepticism
Having established fitness skepticism is alive in the medical field; it is worth tackling the various factors fueling fitness skepticism. To start with, conflicting results from studies on physical fitness have not helped at all. It is not surprising to wake up to news of a new study rubbishing results of a previous study. This is in addition to medical experts rubbishing a particular physical activity as non-beneficial fitness wise while trumpeting the virtues of a supposedly better alternative.
Such conflicts and icy relations, according to fitness skeptics, show that information available to the public contains very little if any shred of truth. Besides conflict of opinion among medical professionals, the rising popularity of alternative/traditional practices such as acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, naturopathy, homeopathy, and massage therapy also add fuel to this debate. A study published by the Oxford Journals‘ The Gerontologist found that seniors with oriental background believe alternative medicine can promote brain health. Researchers involved in this study were astounded seniors did not mention physical activities such as strength training as a potential way of improving brain health and cognitive abilities. Moreover, most believed that diet was one of the most important factors in boosting brain health and function during old age.
Another group of skeptics holds the same view that dieting, not exercise is the key to losing weight. Such people believe following certain dietary guidelines and principles can improve one’s fitness significantly. For example, some swear a Mediterranean style diet is the solution to good health and fitness. What’s more, another category of skeptics roundly discredit the herbal supplements industry as nothing more than a pyramid scheme. They say manufacturers of herbal supplements bandy outrageous claims without scientific backing.
Skeptics and Science
In some cases, fitness skeptics hold onto their beliefs even in the face of solid and peer reviewed scientific evidence. As such, it is futile to try to change their views. Therefore, you should let them digest the available evidence and maybe change/form different opinions over time.
Skepticism over diverse fitness claims runs across all demographics. Some swear by traditional practices such as homeopathy and acupuncture while others believe diet and supplements such as Meratrim is the way to go. Even in the medical field, it is common to come across divergent views on subjects like obesity and the best way to tackle it. Nevertheless, such views are not necessarily bad because they fuel debate over various important health issues.