A senior citizen trying to slow down his process of aging by physical fitness exercises. Via Wikimedia.
We all want to be stronger, better looking, and more healthy. We all want it to be easy. Everyone is looking for “the method”—a straightforward method to get the most out of your workouts. After dietary pseudoscience, exercise is the next worst category of pseudo-scientific misinformation. The Internet and television are full of ideas and/or anecdotes recommending this or that. Exercise is a complex issue and, simply put, you are a custom build. There is no shortage of someone selling something to “make their workout better.” Like dietary “woo,” there is usually scant evidence and large amounts of ideological proselytizing.
In fact the evidence related to proper exercise is complicated and nuanced. Complicated science is ripe for exploitation. I myself have fallen prey to some of this type of chicanery. For example, I once had a pair of strength shoes, parodied as “Jimmy’s shoes” in an episode of the 1990s television show Seinfeld. They were advertised as isometric training shoes that would allow the wearer to jump higher. Not a shining moment as a nascent skeptic but still an excellent example, in my opinion, of the exploitation of plausibility. Needless to say workout routines, devices, and supplements are often completely based upon anecdote and athlete endorsements.
Lets look at some common workout advice skeptically. / read more…