The Cardio paradox

What is exercise…really? pt 2

By example a regular runner may also have decent endurance as a swimmer even if they don’t swim regularly  but only compared to a completely out of shape couch potato. In fact, some folks with naturally good genetics for endurance (body size, body shape, lung capacity etc) will out swim the avid runner with zero training right off the couch! You can test this easily and will discover that so called cross-training effects are most often overstated for the sake of sales:

Practice running 5km for a bit and see how quick you can get. Next practice running 15km until your time shows significant improvement. Now go back to the 5km and re-test. Unless you are a rare an extremely gifted runner you won’t see much if anything at all in improvement. This is why if a regular runner tries steep hills they will find their endurance drops dramatically almost to that of a rank newbie until they get plenty of practice specifically on hill running. With endurance and the ability not to lose your breath cross over effects are minimal at best.

This is not meant to preach against activity, by all means be active! Regular activity makes your bodies regular daily functions work properly. You don’t improve your body through activity you just maintain natural function. That is to say lack of activity will make you sick even faster than just the passage of time/aging. Exercise on the other hand is supposed to be precisely designed to improve you in a manner which can be generally applied across your whole life.


Real exercise can even improve deficiencies you were born with or which came about from major outside stress. However if you try to simply get some exercise effect through any old activity or sport you seriously water down the effect. The result is minor, superficial and barely semi permanent. This is precisely why exercise is powerful medicine yet the medical profession has not adopted it as fundamental to human health.

Please don’t just agree or disagree with us, look up basic stress physiology and it’s relationship to exercise and feel free to counter us or pose questions we welcome civil debate.

Be well, be strong,

Andrew and Tierney

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