HEALTH | FITNESS | EXERCISE
Body by Science
A Research-Based Program for Strength Training, Body Building and Complete Fitness in 12 Minutes a Week
Authors Doug McGruff M.D. and John Little rethink the link between health, exercise and fitness. (McGruff, Doug and Little, John. Body of Science. New York: McGraw Hill, 2009.)
Body by Science – A Book Review
The message of Body of Science is, in a word, “revolutionary.”
Modern concepts of health, fitness and exercise are the subject of unsubstantiated urban myth and bad science. For example, the common understanding that health and fitness go hand and hand such that fitness begets health, is simply unsupported by scientific research. It appears that most Americans do not really know how or if ‘cardio’ type exercise leads to good health or longer life.
The authors’ shocking thesis is simply that, “. . . there is no additional advantage of devoting hours per week to the pursuit of health and fitness improvement. Indeed, there is no additional physiological advantage afforded to one’s body, including endurance or cardio benefits, by training that lasts more than six to nine minutes per week.” Yes, you read that right. Only Six Minutes Per Week!!!!
McGuff and Little begin by asking some basic questions. What is health? What is exercise? What is fitness? Surprisingly, there seems to be no real consensus as to what these concepts entail. At any rate, the idea that exercise, fitness and health are directly related to one another is simply not established by modern science. So, what is the road to health and longevity?
What the reader learns is that Americans are so invested in ‘cardio’ training as the gold standard of fitness and health, that we have missed the science proving that intense, intermittent strength training is the better way, if not the only way, to train all components of the cardiovascular system.
Those readers who want to understand the ‘wonky’ metabolic science behind the thesis of Body by Science will not be disappointed. Suffice it to say, human metabolism is complex, and current knowledge confirms that hours of so-called ‘cardio’ simply do not yield the intended results of longer life and better fitness.
The authors conclude that low-intensity, steady-state activity, such as jogging or running, is not a route to cardio health, but fraught with risks of damage and injury to the body. On the other hand, science supports the conclusion that high-intensity, low-frequency exercise, such as strength training with free weights or weight machines, provides health benefits that are unattainable through lower-intensity exercise.
And, all this for 6 minutes a week????
Just think of all the time you will gain to enjoy life!!!!