Exercise Is Just for Kids

Posted by Filed Under: Children's Running

l50.jpgI ran across this fascinating 1958 CBC radio clip of a discussion between Byng Whitteker – a radio announcer entrenched in his belief that exercise is only good for children – and fitness advocate Lloyd Percival.

The world has changed a great deal in the past 50 years. In the clip, you get the sense that Lloyd was considered something of a wingnut with Byng being the rational one between them. Today, it’s pretty clear we’d have the opposite view of these gentlemen.

If you listen to the whole clip, you’ll be rewarded with a reference to something that seems ominously similar to the Atkins Diet. I don’t know about you but that seems freaky to me.

I was really impressed with Lloyd’s persistence and depth of knowledge. Listening to him makes me think that fitness wisdom has been around for a long time – the difficult part has always been to get people to hear the message.

About Mark Iocchelli

Also known as the "Running Blogfather", I'm a 40-something marathoner who has beaten stress fractures and terrible shin splints. Now I'm running double the mileage with no pain - and I'm getting faster. I love to talk about running form and Arthur Lydiard. I also enjoy taking photographs, have a beautiful (and very patient!) wife, and am the proud father of two crazy kids. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about the site.

  1. self portraits of a kid on May 22nd at 2:13 am

    I kind of in favor of this – exercise is just for kids – because of some stories I’ve heard regarding exercise done by older people. For example, there was this man who died from heart attack after jogging for 30minutes in a nearby park. There was also this old man who bought a treadmill and had a severe stroke because he couldn’t go with the speed of a treadmill. Nevertheless, I also think that too much of something is always bad.

  2. Blaine Moore (Run to Win) on May 22nd at 8:05 am

    Yes, I agree as well, because it is better to die young and miserable than to die (possibly painfully) while working out in your old age after years of health and being happy.

    A few years back, a man collapsed and died a few hundred yards from the finish of the Maine Marathon. When he was in his mid-50s, he had a heart attack and had been told that he had to get in shape or that he wouldn’t survive the next one. He averaged a race a week almost every year after that for 15 or 20 years until he died. Do you think that if he hadn’t started running and getting in shape that he would have lived an extra 15 or 20 years?

  3. Diane on May 22nd at 8:08 am

    I love the photo – it is my ambition to be so joyful when I run. Who is it? Mark, she looks like you.

  4. Mark Iocchelli on May 22nd at 11:53 am

    @self: I think the evidence has shown that the benefits of exercise (at any age) far outweigh the very small risks.

    @Blaine: Thanks. You’re point is very well made.

    @Diane: Yes, it is cute, isn’t it? It’s a young gal who was a participant of a race Aaron (from Team CRN) organized.

  5. jank on May 24th at 7:58 am

    THe difference, I think, is that the 1958 clip reflected an era in which kids DID exercise, ‘cept it was just called “playing”. And, a large number of them did pretty strenuous chores.

    50 years later, “playing” involves sitting on one’s rump, and physical labor is either not done, done by adults, or outsourced.