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Exercise, Fitness, Health and Happiness… The New York Times Finally Finds a Subject It Can Report Objectively On.

A recent report in the New York Times looks at a study conducted to quantify, at least initially, some of the molecular changes that occur in a person’s body after a short burst of exercise. The results of the study are interesting, but not surprising to anyone who’s “laced up” regularly. As I suggested in the Title, we should rejoice… reporters at the Times have finally found a topic they can report objectively on, without bias.

Where I found the report interesting is that the study actually delves into the inner-workings of the body on a molecular level to find out why exercise does what it does.

The study is just an initial look into how the body adjusts to physical activity, but it’s findings are impressive nonetheless:

The scientists then ran the blood samples through a mass spectrometer, a machine that counts and quantifies molecules. The researchers focused on metabolites, which are molecules related to metabolic processes. The label “metabolite” is somewhat arbitrary, but for this study, the researchers focused mostly on molecules that could affect people’s insulin, fat burning, cholesterol, blood sugar and other aspects of cellular fueling.

They found plenty. Of 588 metabolites checked, the levels of more than 80 percent generally grew or dropped during the short rides. To reinforce those findings, the scientists repeated the experiment with another 783 Framingham volunteers, checking their blood before and after exercise for changes in about 200 of the molecules that had been most altered in the first group. Again, these metabolites changed in the same ways as before.

So this, on a molecular level, starts looking into the “why” of the health benefits of exercise.  The question real is, is this work even necessary?  For me, no.  I can take a mad stab at why it was done, though.  I’d guess they’re looking for fitness in a pill.  Even if they could find the magic elixir, I wouldn’t bother with it.  I’d rather get mine naturally, through the use of carbon fiber, aluminum alloy, trace amounts of steel, and rubber.  The old-fashioned way is vastly more gratifying. 

Wait a second… check that… I would take the magic pill and still ride.  Probably in the A Group!  YES!  But the guys in the A Group would be taking it, too, so maybe I’d just take it and stay in the B Group but we’d be faster.  A LOT faster.  Yeah, I like that.  Anyway, you get the point.

If you ask me, I think someone needs to do a study on why carbon fiber can make a grown man go all gaga in a matter of seconds.  I walk into the bike shop and it takes all of 45 seconds and I’ve gotta ask one of the guys for a mop so I can get my slobber off the floor.  And in the age of COVID you start slobbering through your mask like that and all of a sudden people lose their freaking mind!  Sheesh.  People running around with their arms flailing, screaming “COVID Zombie, COVID Zombie!”  It’s not good.

Anyway, COVID Zombies aside, the moral of the story is “who gives a $#!+ about the science? We all know exercise is good. Buy bike. Ride bike. Be happy. The rest is noise.