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Every hour spent in front of the TV on the sofa or in your Ecliner 3000 reduces your life by almost 22 minutes. According to a new study at the University of Queensland, people who spend 6 hours a day in front of the box will die, on average, 5 years sooner than those who did not watch TV. Of course it’s not deadly gamma rays coming out of the TV that do the damage, the more that people watch TV, the less activity they are likely to do and the more poorly they tend to eat. Spending hours in front of the computer will also decrease life expectancy.
So why not counteract this by actually getting some exercise. Studies also show that your chances of actually doing something effective are massively increased by recruiting a personal trainer. It might save your life..
A new study reported in the BBC this week says that just 15 minutes of exercise a day can boost life expectancy by 3 years and cut the risk of death via disease by 14%. Meanwhile, work in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that a couch potato lifestyle can cut life expectancy by 5 years. The UK government has also recently updated its health advise with a more flexible approach, recommending that adults get 150 minutes of exercise a week; this differs from previous advice which stated that we need to do 3 lots of 20 minutes a week (at a vigorous level) or 5 half hour sessions (at a moderate level) to stay fit and healthy.
The government is right in that a flexible approach is the key. Many people start a fitness regime but are doomed to failure because the 4 times a week 2 hour long session in the gym that they start with is an unrealistic and unsustainable commitment. When we take on a new personal training client we provide a routine for them to do on their own. More often than not the best way to make this achievable and effective is to prescribe small but high intensity workouts that can be done 3 or 4 times a week. But how to make the most of your short session?
Recently endorsed by trainer to the Prime Minister Matt Roberts on Daybreak (ITV 1) we use a system called PHA. This stands for peripheral heart action. By doing strength training exercises in a specific order with no recovery you can get both a good toning workout AND a cardio vascular session all in one go. The following routine is a good example: a brief warm up (fast walking, walking up and down the stairs, jogging on the spot while swinging the arms are all effective) followed by two sets of alternating push ups/ stepping lunges, bent over row/ squats and then tricep dips/ plank. If done with no rest in between this will tone the muscles, raise the metabolic rate, burn fat and get the heart rate up. Lots of birds with one stone! This clever system, also known as supersetting, works by challenging one muscle group while an opposing one is resting, enabling you to do the routine non-stop and getting some lung and heart fitness as a by-product. So the arms are resting while you do the lunges and vice-versa. It should only take up 15 minutes, and thus can be fitted around even the busiest of lifestyles leading to a tones, slim healthy you. Look for demos of these exercises on our youtube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/dietsdontworkuk
Proper exercise is best, but if you can’t manage that then simple tweaks to your routine such as walking over to speak to a colleague at work rather than sending an email may have a positive impact on your physical health, reports Sciencedaily.com. Researchers in Canada analysed 135 sedentary obese adults and found that their “incidental activity” (things like walking, lifting objects) had a small but significant impact on their cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), which is a predictor of heart disease and stroke.
“In the commercial breaks during TV shows get up and put something away or run up to your room and grab something” advised researcher Ashlee McGuire of Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. “Those minutes are going to add up over the day”. She stressed, however, that while such low level activity is better than doing nothing, it’s not a replacement for the recommended 30 minutes a day of higher intensity exercise.
This story was largely mis-reported in the UK media, with many sources saying that only small levels of everyday activity are enough to keep you fit. Although this will help, especially in terms of weight loss as all those extra calories add up, some proper more intense exercise is needed to have a good base level of fitness, enjoy life to the full and really lower your chances of getting life threatening disease.
Even one or two personal training sessions a week might just be what you need to get started and get the right amount of exercise in the most time efficient way!