Workout warriors being fitted for wings

Maybe it's just the dog lover in me coming out, but I'm going to go ahead and recommend a much-needed medical test to anyone keeping a hamster as a pet.

You ought to have your head examined.

There's only one type of person deranged enough to get their kicks watching a glorified rat run in place for 20 hours a day -- and you'll have no trouble finding him at your local gym.

These workout-worshippers are grinding away hours of their day on treadmills or in "spinning" classes wearing sweat-drenched T-shirts with inspirational sayings like "live strong."

Well, they ought to change it to "live short." Because research proves those kickboxing lessons are only preparing you to kick the bucket, and lots of folks like you are exercising themselves to death.

One eye-opening study from the German Cancer Research Center tracked 1,000 folks --including lots of seniors -- for a decade and found that couch potatoes and folks who worked out more than four times a week were BOTH more than TWICE as likely to keel over from a heart attack or stroke.

That's right -- you're almost better off skipping workouts completely than becoming one of those health nuts who's getting his mail at the gym.

And this wasn't some anomaly, either. Another study from Sweden's Karolinska Institute found that men who exercised more than five hours a week during their youth were 19% more likely to develop atrial fibrillation, a serious heart rhythm disorder.

Now don't get me wrong. Nobody is giving you permission to spend more time engaging in Americans' favorite exercise -- channel surfing. Both studies found that MODERATE exercise, like regular walks with friends or the occasional game of tennis, were the keys to delaying your date with the Pearly Gates.

Let's face it -- that trainer who's shaming you into dragging yourself to the gym five days a week isn't doing you any favors. And if he's anything like these two guys, one day he may need a favor from you -- like carrying his casket.

If you ask me, they ought to stop sewing workout shirts out of cotton and spandex, and make them out of wool instead. Because most of the health nuts you'll find at a gym are sheep, plain and simple. They've been swallowing each other's lies for so long about the benefits of a "daily burn" that they could use a trash enema.

It's time to change the channel on their deadly nonsense and find something simple and low-impact that you love. It'll beat the heck out of running yourself ragged on that great hamster wheel in the sky.