Re: i do not understand: exercise

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Thu Nov 16 2000 - 10:18:55 MST

Max More wrote:
> At 08:48 PM 11/15/00, you wrote:
> >There are definite advantages to high heartrate aerobic exercise, say 5
> >times a week for 45 minutes or so. Keep ya from having one of those dreaded
> >heart attacks :-) As for going for the muscle-bound superman look I am not
> >so sure of any benefits from that unless you are a leader of some organization
> >and have to look good in public. I fear that all the extra calories burned
> >to keep that muscle mass happy may actually reduce your lifespan slightly.
> I would say that 45 minutes of strongly aerobic exercise five times a week
> is excessive. I think you can get virtually the same health benefit from
> around 25 minutes four times a week, with far less free radical formation.

I'd have to disagree.. my understanding (feel free to prove me wrong) is that
you really have to do a minimum of 30 minutes of steady aerobic exercise
to really have any effect on your cardio system. Extending that a bit to 45
minutes will lead to even better shape. Combine this of course with some good
anti-oxidants daily. I think going for the extra cardio conditioning is worth
it since heart related problems are one of the top killers.

> As for building muscle mass -- certainly excessive bodybuilding is not
> optimal for health, especially if the bodybuilder is using steroids in
> their current form to grow muscle tissue without regard to side-effects.
> But I've found that people are relatively unaware of the benefits of
> weight-training as compared to aerobic exercise. It is most definitely not
> all a matter of appearance.
> Weight-training/bodybuilding when done sensibly improves glucose metabolism
> and insulin response, lowers blood sugar (=less glycosylation) and reduces
> risk of diseases (including diabetes), maintains or restores bone mass
> (very important as you age, *especially* for women reaching menopause), and
> improves the sense of well-being (more than aerobic exercise).

I definitely can agree that doing some serious weight training is practically
a requirement say once you hit your 40s. As for diabetes, etc. I believe (again
correct me if wrong) that regular aerobic exercise is probably even better
than weight training in terms of prevention. See a basic article here:

> Beyond those benefits, others will be more relative to the individual. Here
> I would include how healthy, powerful, and vigorous you look. Some of us
> like to sculpt our bodies, others see them as mere vehicles of no aesthetic
> interest.

This is the part that I find a little off-putting.. like I said if it helps
you in your job or whatever that's a good thing. But other than that, I see
it as a waste of time to try to attain some kind of "look" and hold it. I
could understand it if you are planning to try to maintain a physical body
far into the future... some people dig that, but myself I prefer to just be
uploaded and modify my body image at will after that.

> Improved physical strength may save your life in some circumstances and is
> useful in many more situations. Given that caloric restriction with good
> nutrition is life-extending, muscle building has the extremely important
> benefit of giving you tissue to burn in an emergency if you don't have the
> fat. I've seen friends lose 30-50 lbs very quickly in hospital. If you're
> calorically restricted and have neither body fat nor muscle tissue, a
> medical emergency could just kill you.
> Remember that I'm not recommending two hour workouts daily. That would
> indeed mean unnecessary free radical formation. You can get tremendous
> health benefits from shorter, focused workouts. (Mine are 30-40 minutes,
> including plenty of rest between sets. But when I do a set, I'm working at
> peak capacity.)

Right, I just worry about all the extra oxidization going on in all those
extra muscle cells. Have there been any studies done on this?

Overall I just don't see a good reason for the average person to do weight
training in addition to regular aerobic exercise, UNLESS they need it for
specific reasons such as their job, their age, desire to participate in
extreme sports, etc.

Brian Atkins
Director, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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