07 April 2015

The dangers of jogging too much

Runner's World reported (back in February) on the supposed dangers of (according to the headline) running too much: the article itself seems to be concerned with jogging, which of course is a matter of no interest to runners because, while they might jog a little from time to time, they certainly don't do too much of it. But it turns out that it's not such a problem anyway, even for joggers: the BBC tells us today (confirming what that same RW article already stated) that the sample of "strenuous joggers" (call them "oxymoronic athletes") was so small as to be statistically insignificant, as the BBC quoted unnamed critics.
RW also mentioned that the results of that particular piece of research had been published a long time ago, in 2012,and were merely coming round again in that irritating way that stuff on the Internet has, albeit in slightly different form. Given that the stories are based on papers published in respectable and presumably peer-reviewed medical journals, and picked up on the headlines rather than the detail in the paper (and who'd seriously expect a journalist to study a heavy piece of medical research?), I feel a bit of despair - not a great deal, because there are many other things in the world about which despair should be felt. Perhaps shortened modern attention spans, and the general rejection of anything that smacks of "elitism" (which often includes "quality"), mean that publishers of medical journals are driven to provide a précis of their journals which inevitably focuses on the newsworthy aspects - without fully explaining the topic: and the journalists who report it lack the luxury of time, and perhaps also the specialist knowledge, to check that what they are writing is anywhere near the truth.

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