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 AN EXERCISE IN EPIDEMIOLOGY

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dranandbhaskar@gmail.com



Number of posts : 53
Age : 37
Location : Christian Medical College, Vellore
Occupation : Associate Professor in Physiology
Educational Qualification : MBBS, MD
Registration date : 2007-01-07

PostSubject: AN EXERCISE IN EPIDEMIOLOGY   Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:44 pm

Dear Physiologist,

The earliest reported epidemiological study linking good health with exercise was performed on drivers and conductors of London double decker buses! The study revealed that conductors enjoyed much better health than drivers. This was said to be due to fact that the conductors run up and down the bus staircase at least 500 times a day giving ample exercise to their legs, while their counterparts stuck to the driverís seat. More recent studies on French cyclists, Finnish skiers and a variety of sports persons all over the world revealed that men and women who took regular exercise lived longer than those who did not perform any exercise. They were physically more fit and continued to be active. Does this mean that exercise is slowing down the ageing process? Every species has a specific life span and humans are no different. The ending of the ageing process is death. Two types of ageing can be found in humans. The first is a natural process of ageing determined by a steady deterioration of cellular homeostatic mechanisms. A progressive change in gene activity tilting the balance in favour of formation of harmful radicals is held to be responsible for this. Second factor is the environment- pollution and disease. Many believe it is the secondary ageing that is slowed down by exercise. How does exercise do this? By limiting hypertension, diabetes and obesity, by increasing the resistance to disease and by reducing muscle weakness that accompanies ageing process. How is the muscular exercise able to do this? Immediate changes are significant increase in heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen consumption. Notable changes in the muscle are increase in muscle glucose uptake, glycogenolysis, and ATP turnover, glycolysis, lactate production, oxygen utilisation, and CO2 production. In addition to these known changes formation and release of many substances with profound effects on muscle morphology and growth, termed myokines, also occurs. Long term exercise reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels in plasma, increases muscle protein synthesis and mitochondrial generation. There are many varieties of exercise- intensive, resistive, balancing, co-ordinating, aerobic, anaerobic. It was found that a combination of all is the best suited for individuals. Most of the sports and games offer a combination of all varieties. If you are in doubt watch a game of tennis. Finally, it must be mentioned that there exist a group of people who do not respond to exercise. They seem to possess a peculiar, inexplicable resistance. Research is on to find out the cause. What would be the out come if the study on London bus drivers and conductors is repeated in India. One of the objections to above study is that drivers faced greater stress which affected their health! Hence it would be interesting to similar study in India. Most other studies reported above can also repeated to find out the long-term effects. Do try and let me know!

J. Prakasa Rao,
Professor of Physiology (Rtd)
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