Exercise – 3 minutes a week??

So……

That Horizon Programme, the one all our clients have been talking to us about and asking us about all week. We finally managed to watch it on iPlayer, and thought it might be helpful to write about it (for any of you out there who might be the least bit interested in the opinions of the eccentric osteopath of Bletchley!)

These programmes are distilled down from many hours of filming, and I suspect it’s extremely difficult to know which parts to screen and which to exclude to attempt to produce a balanced slot. It seemed to me, (and I must stress, this is only my personal view,) that the programme dealt with a number of different issues, but in the process of editing and switching backward and forward from one to the other, it became a little confusing at points. The issue our concerned clients have been asking about is, “Is it really true that exercise at the gym does you very little good, and you only need to exercise for three minutes per week?”

I don’t think that was the theme of the programme…. Here’s a “digest,” if you like of the main issues raised, as far as I could tell!

  • Three 20 second bursts of vigorous exercise with short rests in between, performed three times weekly, has been found by researchers to significantly improve the body’s sugar metabolism – the way in which your pancreas and liver work together to deal with blood glucose. As a result of the exercise, the body dealt with glucose in the blood more quickly, and reduced it to more acceptable levels. This might help prevent the onset of Type II diabetes.
  • Regular, moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk seems to be effective for some considerable hours afterward, in helping the body deal with fats in the bloodstream, lowering levels and therefore proving beneficial in preventing arterial disease (arteriosclerosis).
  • Keeping active during the working day (the examples in the programme were a woman running a restaurant, on her feet all day, and a gentleman who was very sedentary, glued to the desk most of the day) uses a huge number of calories overall and therefore can help in good health from the point of view of weight control, to an extent. Well, it’s obvious that this kind of person would not jump on the home cross trainer right after work, since they’ve been using their legs all day but maybe something like yoga or an upper body routine. The advice is, even if you are sedentary, try and get up and walk round from time to time, and use opportunities such as climbing stairs instead of using the lift or walking from the station instead of getting the bus or a cab – anything which keeps you on the move during the day.
  • “Traditional exercise,” the gym, running etc, takes a great deal of time to burn calories – the message wasn’t that there’s no point in doing it, just that we shouldn’t rely on this as a way of reducing our overall calorie intake or burning off the cream cake we had after lunch.

The programme didn’t deal in any detail with “traditional” forms of exercise like stationary exercise bikes for example, but, several things were touched upon – my interpretation?

  • There are a huge number of good reasons for exercising – it raises endorphin levels, makes you feel good, and you can increase your overall level of fitness, both muscular and cardio-vascular – this means that you’re more able to do things in general life and have a lower risk of damaging yourself.
  • The extent to which you personally will benefit in these ways from this kind of exercise is genetic (they did spend some time on this), which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but it does mean that our ability to benefit from the exercise we do varies considerably from individual to individual. Some people will get much fitter, much faster than others, because their bodies respond better to the exercise.

If you watched the programme, I hope you feel this is a fair summary – by all means contact us via the Joint Solutions Osteopathy and Sports Therapy Clinic facebook page if you want to comment or chat about it – or just talk to us when you see us!

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