The recent Horizon programme; ‘The truth about exercise’ has caused a fair bit of discussion. One of the most common reasons given for not exercising is lack of time – with this in mind many will have latched on to Michael Mosley’s idea that all it takes is three lots of 3 minutes extreme exercise a week for healthier and longer lives. Mosley does not support the government guidelines of 5 lots of 30 minutes moderate exercise for good health. Those who watched the programme would have to agree that Mosley’s extreme exercise certainly was extreme. I am not convinced that this would be appropriate for the 80% of people deemed not to exercise enough for good health. However, I am convinced about his view of the office chair; named the killer chair. We were designed to move; those with sedentary lifestyles do need to move every hour. Another study in the Horizon programme showed that by just being more active during the day – walking around at the office, using the stairs, walking to the bus stop etc. could burn up around 500 calories. And that this was a far healthier way to be than to be sitting at work all day and then blasting a half hour session at the gym. With spring just around the corner this would be a good time to get into a new exercise habit. Could you walk to work? Most car journeys are less than 2 miles – could you leave the car at home for just one of these journeys each week? Why not take advantage of the warmer weather and take to the outdoors?
Recently I was asked by one of our beginner runners why she hadn’t lost any weight whilst she definitely had increased the amount of physical activity she was doing. This is not uncommon; in fact I don’t believe the role of exercise in helping us lose weight is quite as good as our gym advertisements often claim.
The principle for weight loss hasn’t changed; in order to lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume, and there are unique options to burn fat. In America a survey from 1980 showed 47% of respondents said they exercised – this increased to 57% in 2000. However, the obesity figures for the same years have increased dramatically. So, what is going on here?
A couple of suggestions; firstly it is not a myth that muscle is denser than fat. When you start a new exercise routine you hope to tone up and therefore this may contribute to an overall weight gain. However, your body fat percentage will have decreased which will mean you will lose inches and your clothes will fit better.
Secondly exercise can stimulate hunger; you may have been increasing your calorie intake inadvertently. In order to lose just one pound you have to burn around 3,500 calories. If you expect to do this through exercise alone you would need to do around an hour’s walk every day for a week. Unfortunately, the post exercise hunger is easily allayed by whatever snack is available – sometimes empty calories rather than a nutritious food.
Although there is no doubt than exercise is good for our health it may not actually help us lose weight. The best way to lose weight is to combine a good healthy diet with an exercise program or some type of treatment form a good weight loss clinic. Some clinics give you valentus slimroast optimum coffee to loss weight others give you vitamin B-12 injections as part of their weight-lossprograms. Proponents of vitamin B-12 injections say the shots give you more energy and boost your metabolism.
Last summer the UK government requested that people working in London worked from home during the Olympics to avoid traffic congestion. Not everyone is happy with this idea. Although there are many benefits for homeworking it can be a lonely existence, it gives little chance to bounce ideas off colleagues, the line between work and play is less distinctive, there is a danger of working all hours and for me the thought of not going out of the front door is a bit scary. Michelle was just one such person who joined SE Fitness 12 months ago.
Michelle Stammers says ‘Being a home based Personal Travel Advisor can be a lonely business at times. I decided I needed to get out more, meet potential new clients and try and get fitter. In February 2011, I saw an advert in my local newspaper that would change my life. It was a walking/running group for all ages and abilities run by the ex Olympian athlete Sally Ellis. I joined the walking group and this was the start of my journey. First of all power walking once a week, then twice a week and then I became fit enough to join the complete beginners running group.
It’s now February 2012. I am now a licensed run leader for Sally Ellis leading groups in my spare time, inspiring and motivating others to run and walk for pleasure. I have competed in many local races for fun and also to raise money for charity. My next goal is the Birmingham half marathon in October.
So, just one small step and a bit of bravery completely changed my life and I am no longer a lonely home worker but a very happy, fitter, healthier home worker with lots of new friends. Oh and by the way, I am 44 and it’s the best I have ever felt.’
As a teenager I had two ambitions: one was to run from Lands End to John O’ Groats and the other was to be in the Olympics. Oddly enough this was way before I ever became a runner. Infact my passion as a young teenager was pony riding. One of the qualities our London 2012 Olympic athletes have is ‘ambition’. A desire of personal achievement.
I was recently asked what inspired me to start running. So, this is my story.
I started at a time when the trend is to give up – in the 6th form at school my PE teacher started a lunchtime running club and asked me if I would like to attend. I had spent my child hood running around the New Forest trying to catch my rather annoying pony so I took to the running and loved it. But it was being part of a group and having the support of our teacher and the other students that kept me going.
At Durham University I met someone who went on to be my coach for my whole running career. Alan Storey coached the cross country team at Durham. He encouraged me to start marathon running and you could say the rest is history. The marathon became my event. I was inspired by two people who have really made my journey. Often it is a challenge by a friend or encouragement from a colleague that starts us on that journey. Joining a group of like minded people can help keep us motivated. Of course we have to be willing to take up that challenge. Maybe, in this Olympic year this will be your opportunity to take up the challenge. Who will influence you in 2012 to get the exercise habit? We don’t need to set our goals too high – I fear running Lands End to John O’Groats has rather slipped my grasp!
It can’t have escaped your notice that there is an amazing event taking place in less than 6 months time which will affect us all to a lesser or greater degree. We can get involved at whatever level we wish. There are the athletes, those involved with the journey of the torch, the opening ceremony; maybe you have been lucky enough to secure tickets, many local events joining in the celebration. We can give much to London 2012 but what are we going to gain. My hope is that we are enthused to get involved in more physical activity. I hope, in particular, our young people will be inspired to participate in sport on a regular basis.
Sportivate is a young person initiative with the aim to encourage just this. All over the country Sportivate programmes are taking place. It is part of the ‘play’ strand of the Sport England’s ‘Places, People, Play’ initiative. This is part of the London 2012 Mass participation Legacy. Partly funded by National Lottery. At SE Fitness we are looking for teenagers and young adults (aged 16 – 25) who may not seek out sporting opportunities themselves and would not prioritise doing sport in their own time or those doing a limited amount of sport. We are offering a 6 week absolute beginners running course for just £10 (or £6 if they register before February 15th). Those completing at least 5 of the 6 sessions will be offered further incentives.
By offering Sportivate courses all over the country it is hoped that the ‘drop off’ trend at age 16yrs will be reduced. This in turn will address the health of our young people.
David Taylor has been walking with us since the Summer. I asked him why he joined SE Fitness and what he has gained in the last 5 months:
“As I faced retirement from a hectic and pressured career and becoming a state pensioner, I viewed with trepidation the range of activities that some men had chosen, from the avid world traveller, the enthusiastic silver gap year student, becoming a really bad golfer or cruise addict to the soporific stupor of days spent in the local pub listening to others past exaggerated adventures over a carefully nursed pint. Worse still seeking the solitude of the shed!
I decided that in order to get the most bucks for my pension ( live as long as possible) I would try to regain in part a level of fitness that I once had as a hockey player. Delusional I know but I thought it worth having a goal even if it would ultimately prove unattainable.
In preparation I struggled, wheezing around the streets in the summer months at what I told myself was power walking, but in reality was what others would call leisurely strolling, in the sports gear that once used to fit over distances that I had previously consumed in half the time.
My wife tactfully suggested that I join a fitness group where wearing tights wasn’t so embarrassing and as a result I contacted Sally Ellis who invited me to join the walk plus group on Thursday mornings. I met the trainer, Becky who outlined what to expect and mentioned that I would be the only man in the group. The women were very welcoming and after an initial warm up the group set off at a cracking pace around Sutton park. It took me several weeks to finally keep up and begin to enjoy the very real benefits of regular exercise. I have lost weight, felt fitter and according to Sally I have better pelvic floor muscles so buoyed up by this improvement I joined a second walking group. I am now able to scamper around the park and still have enough breath left to talk. Since Christmas I have joined a running group and I am looking forward to eventually being able to run 5 miles non stop- but there is still some way to go. I am still the only man in the walking groups. Perhaps the lure of the golf course or the warm bonhomie of the pub or the dank gloom of the garden shed is sufficient for some men to feel fit and alive. It is not. Men get more out of your pension by keeping fitter longer and join me please – you don’t have to wear tights!!”
The most popular reason we find for people taking up exercise is weight management, however, stress is often a health issue sited by many. Exercise and stress management go hand in hand. Are you someone who comes home from work feeling stressed? How do you unwind? Do you head for the biscuit tin, a glass of wine or a pint of beer? Do you crash out when you return from a long day at the office? How do you feel when you return from a stressful day? For many the last thought on your mind will be to go out and do some exercise. However, exercise is proven to be a real stress buster. Not only does it give you more energy to cope with tough days but it also helps you relax, makes you feel good and improves your sleep pattern. So it is a ‘win, win’ situation.
I asked a few of our members how they managed to come along to our groups after a stressful day at work. The general consensus was that making a commitment was vital – either signing up to a group or arranging to meet a friend. Sometimes it is a battle to get out of the door but miss a session and that spells trouble. The other important factor was getting out straight away – avoiding going home, sitting down and having that cup of tea, putting temptation before you. Arranging to exercise at a place on the way home from work seemed to be a very successful way of getting into the exercise habit.
At SE Fitness we now offer groups at 6.15pm, 7pm & 7.30pm. So, there is no excuse for going home first. Get into the habit of regular exercise and you will reap the benefits. Feeling stressed? Why not drop into the Wyndley Leisure Centre on your way home from work and join one of our walking or running groups?
Congratulations to all our participants. 77 was a record turn out for this bi anuual event. Now well established this 5km event allows our members to put a marker down on just how fit they are.
Below is the basic results showing those closest to their predicted time. So well done to Jo Gardner and Shirley Gallier – just 7 and 8 seconds outside their estimated times.
The SE Fitness Olympic Grand Prix 2012 will be updated to include these latest results. If you know you have done a ‘seasons best’ (fastest 5km since September 2011) please email me to ensure you get your bonus points!
You helped us raise £120 for St Giles and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation!
Exercise has been recommended during pregnancy for many years. In 1900, the nurses were expected to advise pregnant women to exercise and take rest. Today 30 minutes of moderate exercise would be advised which would provide the same health outcomes as for non pregnant women. In addition for pregnant women this exercise may bring relieve for minor ailments such as tiredness, leg oedema, back pain, constipation and morning sickness.
Exercise will also reduce the chances of excessive weight gain in pregnancy. Those ‘mothers to be’ who exercise during pregnancy will be more likely to return to an exercise programme after the birth of their baby which in turn will help the mother return to her pre pregnancy weight. It is particularly important for a mother to return to her pre pregnancy weight before having a second child to reduce the risk of obesity in later life.
We spend much time and resources on screening during pregnancy but exercise is often not addressed. Women need reassurance that exercise is safe and beneficial so long as the pregnancy is progressing normally.
Obese women and those who put on excessive weight during pregnancy tend to have bigger babies. If by exercising during pregnancy there is a slight decrease in the birth weight of those babies who are in the ‘large for gestational age range’ childhood obesity may be reduced, however, more research needs to be done.
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions for 2012 will, no doubt, be around physical activity. This is inspired by the increasing problem of obesity and the concerns of health issues. However, setting resolutions are not always helpful. It might be wiser to set goals with short steps to help you achieve them. Resolutions tend to be rigid and sometimes unachievable.
The New Year’s resolution: ‘I will go to the gym 4 times a week’ will fail as soon as time does not allow for the 4 gym sessions or as soon as you decide the gym is boring or you find you’re so tired you can’t face going to the gym. Goals such as: ‘I will get into the exercise habit’ allows you to try an exercise and if you don’t get on with it change it to another exercise until you find something you enjoy. By following this method you can keep site of the goal even if the route to it proves too difficult. Going from no exercise to doing exercise 4 times a week is a dramatic change and one that many would find hard to stick with. With the small steps you could introduce one session a week for a couple of weeks then increase it to two sessions as your fitness improves. This makes goals more realistic and achievable. It is also important to make the goals a bit challenging – goals that are too easy will also be hard to maintain.
Once you have chosen your goals write them down. Tell your family and friends; put them in your diary so you see them each day. Keep focussed and reward yourself for sticking to the plan. But remember change takes time. Once you start to feel fitter you will find that this progress itself becomes the reward. And enjoy the feeling of getting fitter in 2012.