Saturday, December 19, 2009


Health Blogarithm for 18th of December

I read in the paper today a report from the Exeter University that most people exaggerate the amount of physical activity they do. To put is bluntly they lie.

15,000 people were asked to recall how much activity they had done in the previous month. The results showed that 39% of men and 29% of women claimed to have met the Government guidelines of 30 minutes of necessary level physical activity on at least 5 days of the week.

When 3300 of the people were then monitored for a further week during which they wore accelerometers, only 6% of men and 4% of women met the guidelines.

The moral, when it comes to aerobic fitness activity, perception and reality are two different things.

For starters 30 minutes of minimum activity is like my walk three mornings week. Unless your heart rate gets over 120 BPM it's not something you'd really call aerobic fitness activity. It's a health walk. I give it 1 point per minute for aerobic fitness. I don't know how people can get fit doing that. I'm sure it has some benefits. You feel better. It wakes you up, gets a bit more oxygen into your body, stimulates the bowel, releases a few endorphins so you feel better, all that sort of stuff. Maybe it contributes to metabolic health, but fitness, that's a different animal.

Anyway the boffins at the University asked the wrong question. It's just more useless junk research. What have they found out? That people lie! Duh!

The question should have been, how fit are you? How many 20m laps can you walk, shuffle, jog or run in 5 minutes?

This is the most basic of measure of good health. The lowest level of aerobic fitness I've seen is 9 laps. The best 60. If you can do 40 laps you're not in bad shape, 45 is better and 50 pretty good. It means you're training. You don't have to ask, just measure the output, not ask questions about the input. Just watch people doing the test.

There aren't many people who can bluff their way through a fitness test.

It's ironic that aerobic fitness is never measured by a doctor, and yet it is the most fundamental measure of good health. They take your blood pressure and send you off to the pathologist to check your cholesterol and glucose (both of which can be done for less than $10 in the surgery) . They don't take you out the back and see how fit your are.

The good thing is that it can get better.

A couple of years ago a member of Fit and Healthy, (my fitness centre at the time) Patricia, completed 23 laps in 5 minutes. ( 9 months later and after she'd lost well over 20 Kg she reached 37 laps. How's that? She was one of the best and most consistent trainers in the gym.

On the track
Got in a quick 30 minutes on the stepper before the 30 minute walk with Peter and Frank. Heart rate over 140 so that's 150 aerabytes. Weight; 85.8 Kg. That's better.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and don't fool yourself. Do the 20 minute run test and report back.

John Miller

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