When I wrote my first book, The Calorie Fallacy, in 1993, I included a chapter about the lack of weight loss benefit from such exercises as jogging. Apart from my Fluoride book, all of my books since then have included a chapter about the lack of evidence that exercising has much significant benefit to health. Even though I like to think of myself as an athlete, I recognise the difference between being 'fit' and being 'healthy'. Many people seem to think of the two words are synonymous, but they aren't. You can be fit enough to run a marathon, but drop dead of a heart attack walking to the start. The classic example is Jim Fixx, who started the jogging craze with his book, The Complete Book of Running, in 1977. He died of a heart attack while jogging!
Now, according to a study reported in the Daily Telegraph, the secret is out: "millions of people who strive to keep fit by jogging, swimming or going to the gym are wasting their time."
The article says: Researchers have discovered that the health benefits of aerobic exercise are determined by our genes - and can vary substantially between individuals.
Around 20 per cent of the population do not get any significant aerobic fitness benefit from regular exercise, according to an international study led by scientists at the University of London.
For these people, regular jogging and gym work will do little to ward off conditions like heart disease and diabetes which aerobic exercise is generally thought to resist.
Researchers say they would be better off abandoning their exercise regime and focusing on other ways of staying healthy - such as improving their diet or taking medication.