Sunday, April 11, 2010

DON'T MENTION THE 'F' WORD - Sunday 21st March 2010

As Rudd and Abbott tune themselves up for the great health debate, I can lay you London to a brick neither of them will mention the F word.

I’m talking, of course about fitness.

Whilst fitness would have to be just about the most important factor in the maintenance of good metabolic and musculo-skeletal health (and is implicated in good psychological health), the chances of it being measured in a surgery or a hospital are quite remote. The chances of it being improved in a surgery or pharmacy is even more remote.

When less the 10% of people have a half decent aerobic fitness training program you’d reckon aerobic fitness would be one of the first things your doctor would measure when you dropped by.

And when only 5% of people have a half decent strength and flexibility training program you’d reckon that anyone presenting with a crook back would find themselves on the floor before you could say ‘Bob’s your uncle’ demonstrating how strong and flexible they were.

Well, it doesn’t happen does it? And because it doesn’t, people frequently go away with the wrong prescription. If a lack of exercise is the problem, then more exercise is likely to be the solution.

Should fitness be measured in the surgery? I think so. If it’s commonplace to stand on the scales of justice, get your blood pressure taken, have blood drawn for a pathology sample and, in the case of a crook back, be sent to the radiologist for an X-ray, then why wouldn’t you expect a fitness assessment of some sort?

But having said all that, measuring how fit you are is just another one of the things you can do for yourself.

To measure how aerobically fit you are mark out two lines 20m apart, then see how many laps you can complete in 5 minutes. Men who can do 40 laps and women who can do 36 are not in bad shape. If you can’t reach those standards then there is a high likelihood that you’re metabolically challenged.

You can enhance your metabolic status with an aerobic training program.

In the beginning was the amble, then the amble became a walk and the walk became a shuffle, the shuffle became a jog and the jog became a run; or you might connect with the swimming pool, the bike or the cross-trainer.

To measure how strong you are see how many situps, pressups (men on the toes and women on the front of the thighs) and squats you can do in 30 seconds. If you can do 20 of each, you’re not in bad nick.

If you want to get stronger do these exercises regularly or go to the gym and lift weights.

As for flexibility, see if you can see if you can touch your toes and sit up straight.

If you want a posture, strength and flexibility assessment go to

If you want to become more flexible join a yoga or Body Balance class.

You ask, ‘does age have anything to do with this?’ Well, yes it does. The older you are the longer you’ve had time to train! You’ll be able to give these standards a good shake well into your 60’s.

On the track
Spent a lazy 30 minutes on the stepper at level 6.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and hope that Tony Abbott will recharge the medical debate by starting a fitness revolution.

John Miller

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