• Staff Writer

The Scientific Approach to Exercise



Since antiquity, exercise and science have collided and departed. Geopolitics has spliced and separated these two entities. Although exercise and science aren’t at odds, they’ve had a tumultuous history. Nowadays, the athlete may borrow from the scientific method to mold a precise regiment.


From 4,000 BCE until the fall of Rome, civilizations rose and fell via rout. During this era, Physical Education, and thusly a rudimentary science of exercise was imposed on the masses, in preparation for warfare. The Dark Ages brought about a new way of thinking and then a decline in the study of the Human body, the body was considered material and unimportant. The Industrial Revolution brought about Physical Education and the science of Calisthenics, physical activities performed to music. This was pioneered by the American Educator Catherine Beecher.


The dilemma over the Human mind and the science of exercise is that Humans recognize instantaneous reward, not the vague and distant promise of longevity. Moreover, too much of exercise-related science reads like a proverb: the man who swallows his saliva is rewarded with longevity. It’s vague, like the proverb, and occurs in the distant almost mythical future. Mark Tarnopolsky, a man who juxtaposes nerd and gym rat is confronting the vagueness.


Tarnopolsky spends his days coaxing mice to run on a treadmill. According to Time, these mice possess a genetic condition that causes premature aging. Half of the mice are sedentary, the other half are coaxed into running 3 times a week. After months of study, Tarnopolsky found that the sedentary mice were in death’s thrall: their fur had fallen out and their hearts weakened. However, the mice that exercised, although genetically compromised, were indistinguishable from healthy mice. Proverbs confirmed exercise does lead to health and longevity. Tarnopolsky plans to continue his groundbreaking research.


Research has found that positive changes occur immediately after exercise. A study of 37 marathon runners demonstrates an increase in vitamins and minerals in the blood. According to Stacey E Foran MD et al, an increase in Glucose, Total Protein, Albumin, calcium, and more were observed, via CDC, four hours after the marathon. Presence of these vital minerals may lead to a greater sense of well-being and a longer life, although a quantification of longevity, such as x amount of exercise equal y years of additional life, hasn’t been stumbled upon.


A simplified scientific method may be deployed to reach your exercise goals. You may not be able to test for longevity, but you can construct a regiment that isolates specific muscle groups.


The scientific method consists of creating a hypothesis and testing the results. According to Breakingmuscle.com, you must create a hypothesis and be very specific about your goals. For example, you want to tone the Medial Thigh Muscles and not the Posterior Thigh Muscles, you may hypothesize that a week of 150 reps of deep squats will propel you towards your goal. After testing the hypothesis, you may you take note of the result and possibly create a new strategy.


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