'Exercise:' Friend or Foe?S

Infomercial experts have spent decades educating you, the consumer, on the benefits of "exercise." Now, scientists are jumping on the "exercise" bandwagon. Could "exercise" be good for you? What role does cereal play? And, will leaving your couch kill you?

  • Sure enough, the good people at Bowflex spend all these years making "exercise" popular and now here comes Science McNerdington ready to get in on the glory. The WSJ reports that (skinny, weakling, laboratory beaker-toting) scientists are all, "people who walked briskly for 45 minutes, five days a week over 12 to 15 weeks had fewer and less severe upper respiratory tract infections, such as colds and flu. These subjects reduced their number of sick days 25% to 50% compared with sedentary control subjects." Fine, Einstein. Just don't expect this new enthusiasm for "exercise" to save you from getting sand kicked in your face by Bobby Bowflex, King of the Beach.
  • But how do Americans know which breakfast cereal to consume while they pursue their "exercise?" A new advertising campaign from the Kellogg corporation is here to help. Turns out Kellogg has had their ad people do some research and the answer is Special K. (Would be funny if that was also made by Kellogg. Can we get an intern to research?—ed.).You should eat Special K unless you want to be fat, which, you know, Kellogg is not judging you for that, it's just saying, even scientists are getting behind this "exercise" thing, so, you know, don't get caught out there with Froot Loops.
  • Of course, we must be wary of "exercise fanatics," who lurk on internet sites and in research universities, trying to lure impressionable members of the public into a radicalized exercise lifestyle. One such nut is Dr. Paul Williams, a fringe "runner" who often "runs" for five miles in a single day, and urges the public to pursue "vigorous" exercise. More reasonable scientists have marginalized him, lest his ideas spread: "Public-health officials also worry that touting Dr. Williams's research could discourage the sedentary from doing any exercise at all, or lure them off the couch with goals too lofty to engender success."
The consensus is: start out eating cereal on the couch. Then check back in a few years to see how the science looks.
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