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Are “Strenuous Joggers” as Likely to Die as Sedentary Individuals?

Posted on February 05 2015

Last week I took on a media article that equated a glass of wine with an hour at the gym in terms of heath benefits. That article was a case of mangled reporting of scientific research (the lead author even addressed it). This week I’ve seen a number of media articles come out about another study, this time addressing the benefits of light, moderate, and strenuous running. As an example, the BBC published a story with the headline: “Too much jogging ‘as bad as no exercise at all.” And the Daily Mail writes: “Stop that binge jogging! Three times a week is best for you… and too much is as bad as doing nothing.”

I hope to get ahold of the text of this study, and had planned on writing about it myself as there are some clear issues with the interpretation of the results. However, Alex Hutchinson has already done the job and I thought I’d refer you to his take-down for an interesting and thoughtful read.

I particularly like this passage:

“Yes, the conclusion of the study (that “strenuous” jogging is as bad as being sedentary) is based on two deaths over more than a decade of follow-up. (Thank goodness a third person didn’t die, or public health authorities would be banning jogging.)”

Yes, their conclusion that strenuous jogging is as risky as being sedentary is based on two deaths. Alex expands on this, and addresses other issues as well. Head over to Runner’s World to read his full analysis.

Update: For another insightful look at this study, read this article by Larry Husten at Love the final paragraph:

“Journalists and scientists have an obligation to fairly and accurately report the results of individual studies, and they have the further obligation to place those results in the context of what is already known in the field. By reporting the results of this one quite limited study with little or no critical perspective of its details or the larger context of the research, they have once again helped perpetuate the scientific illiteracy and innumeracy that is fast becoming one of the hallmarks of our time.”


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