Every time a documentary appears on fitness and exercise, not very long after members start to ask me questions about claims which were made on the show, which means I am always on guard. I don’t watch TV very often, yet I did watch a bit of Michael Mosely’s “The Truth About Getting Fit” (it was on BBC player if you are interested), and I can admit it was a worthwhile watch if you have the time.
The takeaway information is great, while some could use more of an explanation. Here are the 6 pieces of information that I picked up from this show.
1. Don’t Become One Of The Statistics
The first thing that I took from this show is the state of how bad things really are. The shows opening line begins with Dr. Mosely saying, “I know I should do more regular exercise, but the truth is I don’t have the inclination or the time.” Well, I think that this was just one of those set-up lines, as he then demonstrated how exercise shouldn’t need to take up a lot of your time, and once you start, it is actually fun and enjoyable.
I strongly believe that a real issue in the UK is that most people have a default position when it comes to exercise, and it is usually very negative. We usually always start explaining the reasons why we are unable to exercise. Even on this show, Mosely reels off a number of excuses for the reasons why he is unable to run, or that the time that he has doesn’t allow him to get to the gym. Yet at the same time, he also takes about how 20 million Brits happen to be physically inactive. I am one of the optimists in regards to exercise, so carry on watching as he later explains that fitness can be very accessible to all of us.
2. You Do Not Need A Personal Trainer To Find Out About Your Current Fitness Levels
Mosley states that it is easy to start your own fitness journey without paying any money. In fact, you can test your own base-level associated with fitness from the comfort of your own home.
One of these tests include timing how long it will take you to sit down and stand up from a hard chair 10 times, but you cannot use your hands. The chair should be hard, and if possible, use a stopwatch to get an accurate idea of how fit or unfit you are.
The general rule here is the faster you can do this, the better. Yet for men under the age of 35, you should be able to complete this test in 10 seconds, and if possible less, while for women in a similar age group, they should be completing 10 within 12 seconds. Men between the ages of 35 and 55 should complete this test 10 times in 13 seconds, while women should be able to do it in 15 seconds. Finally, for men that are over the age of 55, this test should be completed in 18 seconds, while women should be aiming for less than 19 seconds.
3. 10,000 Steps Every Day Is Not The Holy Grail Of Fitness
Walking 10,000 steps every day has become a widely adopted and accepted health goal. In fact, more than 13 million Brits track how many steps they are taking every day. Yet research suggests that the 10,000 figure is actually arbitrary in association to improving your overall fitness level. Depending on your fitness level, this can also impact how often you may need to visit a specialist, like a podiatrist in Seattle
With the assistance of 6 volunteers, along with supporting researchers, Mosley investigated what would have more of an impact on overall fitness: taking 10,000 steps every day or completing 3 10-minute sessions of fast walking every day (which equals around 3,000 steps), which is called the “Active 10”. The fast walking should not be grueling, yet it should get your heart racing. Mosley mentions that you should still be able to easily talk, yet you shouldn’t be able to sing.
These volunteers were divided into 2 groups, and each wore an activity tracker. The first group completed the 10,000 steps in a day, while the 2nd group completed the Active 10.
At the end of one week, the data of the trackers were compared. Even though the group that completed the Active 10 goals spent less of their time moving, they managed to complete 30% more “moderate to vigorous activity” when compared to the other group.
This is the activity type with more health benefits and is also associated with lowering risks of heart disease and diabetes. So the conclusion from here is that shorter bursts of exercise that is dedicated are a lot more beneficial in comparison to just “keeping active.” However, many will agree that we could benefit even more if we could achieve both.