The Chair is the killer

I watched last nights Horizon with much interest. I am a sedentary person and it worries me. I do a lot of sitting and although I do get up and move around its not always so. If I’m engrossed in a task, two hours can fly by and my back at this point rebels.

Remember “the chair is the killer, the chair is the killer.”

I will freely admit it, I hate the gym. My exercise routine is mostly the mile walk back from the child minders having dropped off my boy.

The program highlighted for me two fundamental beliefs that I adhere to. Science is essential to helping us make a better life for everyone and that one size really does not fit all.

If you didn’t see the program here is the gist:

  1. Not everyone responds well to prolonged aerobic exercise, to be exact there is ~20% of the population where it does no good whatsoever.
  2. A High Intensity Training regime of three 20 second burst of flat out cycling with a 20 second rest in between, three times a week is beneficial

That second one was a stunner. How can so little exercise be beneficial? Well Dr Michael Mosley, the well known TV doctor, was also skeptical. He went through it and did the scientific tests – it was shown to be beneficial.

The first one erases the myth that extended exercise at the gym will be beneficial to everyone. For twenty percent of the population it make no real difference, for another twenty percent, called super responders it makes a great deal of difference. For the other sixty percent you are somewhere in between.

The message they gave was, if you enjoy the gym, keep it up. As mentioned I don’t. I do swim periodically, I walk most days and I ride a bike every so often. Exercise for me is utilitarian. The cycling gets me from A to B, as does the walking. I’m a little stumped when it comes to the swimming unless I move to a location prone to flooding or they put a swimming lane in down Balham High Road.

The thing I took away from this intriguing program was that our exercise and fitness needs to be tailored on an individual basis: to who and what we are. One size fits all proclomations from the Government are not really that useful.

Some of these things we know or are just finding out, for example the eleven genes identified as the markers for the non-responders. Others are still to be discovered. Only time and more research grants will help us discover this. More power to the Scientists elbow I say.


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