Why Donald Trump Is Wrong About Exercise
By Rachael Rettner
May 10, 2017 01:37pm ET
President Donald Trump reportedly eschews exercise because he believes it drains the body’s “finite” energy resources, but experts say this argument is flawed because the human body actually becomes stronger with exercise.
Trump’s views on exercise were mentioned in a New Yorker article published this week by politics reporter Evan Osnos. The article notes, “Other than golf, [Trump] considers exercise misguided, arguing that a person, like a battery, is born with a finite amount of energy.”
Other authors have also noted Trump’s aversion to exercise. According to an article on Vox, the 2016 book “Trump Revealed” states that Trump mostly gave up athletics after college, believing that exercise would only deplete a person’s finite amount of energy.
Although it’s true that exercise uses energy, “the ‘battery’ concept fails to account for several inborn capacities our body possesses that make it one of, if not the greatest, machines on Earth,” said Dr. Michael Jonesco, a sports medicine and orthopedics specialist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Our bodies are so complex, it’s incredibly difficult to describe its unrivaled efficiency and adaptability,” Jonesco said. [The 4 Types of Exercise You Need to Be Healthy]
Exercise does deplete stores of glucose, glycogen and fats the body’s “fuels” from the body’s tissues, but these fuels are restored when a person eats, Jonesco said.
Rather than thinking of energy stores as a battery, “a better analogy would be like the fire that you continue to fuel with more coal or wood,” Jonesco told Live Science. “You need to continue to add fuel, or your flame will die. This is true whether you exercise or not … Simply by existing, we are burning energy.”
What’s more, although exercise puts a temporary stress on the body, the body adapts to that stress so that the heart and muscles become stronger and more efficient. “If we can create a battery that, every time it’s used, actually becomes more powerful and efficient, then sure, our body is like that battery,” Jonesco said.
Some studies have even found that exercise makes people feel more energized. In one study, conducted in 2008, researchers tested the effects of exercise on 36 people who reported feeling chronically tired but didn’t have a medical condition to explain their fatigue. They found that the people who engaged in 20 minutes of low- to moderate-intensity exercise three times a week reported a 20 percent increase in their feelings of energy, compared to what was seen in a control group of people who didn’t work out at all.
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