Sunday, December 13, 2009


When I set up the Health Blogarithm I promised myself I'd do a blog a day. Christine and I saw the film Julie and Julia a couple of months ago. A bit slow to start with, but what a wonderful ending. A blog a day and you become rich and famous!

So this is Sunday 13th of December's blog, thought about on Sunday but written up on Monday 14th.

I spent 40 minutes on the stepper. Kept putting it off until nearly lunch time when it was a bit too hot. Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity!

I've got this system involving aerabytes where the intensity of your aerobic exercise routine is measured according to heart rate and time.

I use the Johnson stepper and the aim is to keep my heart rate over 140 beats per minute (BPM) for however long I exercise. Yesterday it was over 140 BPM for 40 minutes. I collected 200 aerabytes for my efforts, did 660 steps and burned off 510 calories.

After a shower and a towelling off I weighed in at 86.6Kg, in the buff. Too heavy.

I found a small tin (a Murray's Erinmore Flake tobacco tin from Belfast to be precise) the other day in a cardboard box in my wardrobe in which I've kept print-outs from the jockey scale in Rundle Mall in Adelaide. In June 1966 around the time of my 21st birthday I weighted 68Kg. We'll see how we go.

You can read more about the aerabyte concept at

You can record your fitness training scores on a post at the Health Blogarithm.

You'll shortly be able to purchase a copy of the Fitness Tracka ebook that incorporates the Aerabyte system.

Whenever I see the words 'preventive' and health' one after the other in the same sentence, I have a sudden urge to put my fingers down my throat. It's just a dreadful term to describe the promotion of good health. You don't prevent health you promote it.

It's not good enough to presume we know what 'preventive health' means. We need to use our language more precisely than that. 'Preventive health' is definitely not the same as 'promoting health'. It's a negative way of saying some thing that should be expressed in positive terms.

And you don't talk about promoting health without also putting the word 'fitness' into the mix as well. What next, 'preventive fitness'? That's as absurd as 'preventive health'.

If there's one thing we should be doing it's getting people to focus on 'fitness' and not just on 'health'.

As soon as most people think 'health' they think of the pharmaceutical industry and their gatekeepers in surgeries. They want a pill to make them appear unsick (sic) - usually at someone else's expense. As a concept it's a nonsense. It's junk medicine. No-one ever got healthier by pouring junk medicine down their throat or sticking it up their backside.

And why is it a nonsense? Because it's a big ask in our culture expecting to stay healthy without keeping yourself fit. In fact it's virtually impossible.

People are lining up in surgeries hacking all over each other instead of going to the gym, or the pool, or the track.

If you want to get fit, mix with fit people.

You won't get the fitness prescription in a surgery or a chemist shop.

Because the medical industry has done such a dreadful job at promoting fitness (and health) we now have the Australian Government setting up a National Preventative Health Agency to encourage doctors to do the job they should have been doing all along. Duh? Sounds like something invented by the medical industry doesn't it?

It's a pointless exercise giving money to doctors to dole out the prescriptions people need to keep themselves fitter and healthier. Their training doesn't extend that far. They're not interested. They don't run seminars about it at the Hyatt. Their track record speaks for itself.

For most doctors, the only track they direct their customers to is the track between the surgery and the chemists shop. And a well worn track it is.

You could count on the non-opposable digits of one hand the percentage of doctors who have a clue about how to prescribe aerobic activity, let alone strength and flexibility.

On the other hand there are people who know how to do that, who are well trained, who'll give you the time of day and supervise your workouts. They work in fitness centres. They're called fitness practioners. Put yourself in the hands of an expert. Take out a gym membership.

The Government has set aside $872m dollars to 'prevent health'. Compare that with the $80B the governments of Australia are churning down the medical/pharmaceutical black hole each year and you can see that not many people are going to become fitter and healthier. It's a spit in the bucket.

The Government is protecting the wrong industry.

I read a quote from the Australian Minister for Health recently where she talked about the new agency preventing 300,000 deaths a year.

'We already know that we could prevent the early deaths of more than 300,000 Australians by cutting smoking rates.'

Maybe the correct term is 'preventive death'.

I'll use that. From now on it will be known as the National Preventative Death Agency.

I could understand the term 'preventive medicine' - as in getting people to be so fit and healthy that you prevent them going to the doctor, but 'preventive health', it's bunkum.

Dr Andrew Weil said, 'Don't go to doctors for things doctors can't fix.' Well there's a lot of things they can't fix because the problems people have are generated by a lack of fitness, and not by a lack of Lipitor, or Avpro, or Celebrex, or Zoloft, or Mylantin, or Anusol! You can't solve a fitness problem, or a diet problem for that matter with a drug.

A women in one of my seminars on Thursday Island last year said she had a good doctor.

I said, 'Tell me about him.'

She said, 'He helped me lose 11Kg in 5 months.'

I said, 'How did he do that?'

She said, 'He runs fitness classes three morning a week on the town oval.'

Wow, that's good doctoring.

That's 'preventive medicine' if ever there was. Instead of seeing people in the surgery he sees them on the oval, and he sees them getting fitter and slimmer before his very eyes. He knows who's fair dinkum.

I take my hat off to him.

I take my hat off to her too, for getting up at 6am three mornings a week and putting in the hard yards. She could have just done what every one else up there seems to do and gone and bought a bigger skirt.

In the mean time stay tuned, highly tuned and remember, the occasions where reward comes before effort are few and far between.

John Miller

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