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Fitness consensus takes a hammering. For couch potatoes, 12 minutes a week makes you fitter

Sorry to do this, but now there are no excuses (apart from arthritis, amputation and angina).

Don’t read on if you are a conscientious objector to exercise. The “I don’t have time” excuse doesn’t wash anymore. Though, if you are habitually running to catch the bus, you can now call that an exercise program (when your doc asks, you can say you do the 1-AIT training regime from NTNU -- Trondheim).

If you are sedentary, new research from Norway suggests that if you do just four minutes of high-intensity training three times a week, within 10 weeks your peak ability to take up oxygen will have improved by 10%.

Do you care about VO2max? It’s a measure of aerobic fitness and it’s linked to that factor that trumps all others: “all cause mortality” (ACM). To put this study into perspective, a 10% improvement is only 10%. The fittest people have 100% higher VO2 max that the least fit (eg from about 20mL/kg/min to 40mL/kg/min). But even a 10% improvement in VO2 max can make a difference to your mortality.

A review of results from 102,000 people showed that if people are split into groups of “fitness” the least fit were 70% more likely to die than the most fit (Kodama et al 2009). Dr Mike Nichols summarizes the importance of that result:

The bottom line: people with a VO2 max of 26 or less were 70% more likely, each year, to die of ACM than those with a VO2 max of 38 or greater. In another format: for each increase of 3.5 VO2 you decrease your ACM by about 15%.

How many drugs show comparable results?

For those who stay away from all health-science (and I can understand why), you may have missed that the “consensus” on fitness is currently shifting. Instead of long hours of low impact exercise, there are convincing arguments, and plenty of evidence, to suggest that peak performance is more important.

This study rather takes that to an extreme. They had shown that doing a 4 x 4 program helped (where people do 4 minutes on, 3 minutes off for four rounds, and do it three times a week). In the latest round they compared it to just doing 4 minutes on, 2 days off, and discovered you could get 75% of the benefits in a quarter of the time. (Though I don’t know if there is a catch like a 30-minute-warm-up. There is no mention of that in the press release.)

Fit in twelve minutes a week

(29.05.2013) It is a commonly held perception that getting in shape and staying there requires hard work and hours upon hours of training. New research shows the opposite – it seems that only four minutes of vigorous activity three times per week is enough to be fit and healthy.

Regular training improves maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), which is a well-established measure of physical fitness. However, just how much exercise, and how intense that exercise should be to deliver the biggest benefit remains to be defined. Now, researchers from the KG Jebsen – Centre of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim have found that just three short high-intensity sessions (AIT) per week can make for substantial differences in the fitness of inactive men. Their results have just been published in PLOS ONE.

“Our data suggest that a single bout of AIT performed three times per week may be a time-efficient strategy to improve VO2max”, says Arnt Erik Tjønna, a postdoctoral fellow at the center and lead author of the study. Tjønna says one of the advantages of this approach is that it is easy for people to incorporate into their daily lives.

The researchers measured changes in VO2max and traditional cardiovascular risk factors in 24 inactive but otherwise healthy overweight men after they completed a 10-week training session that involved three weekly high-intensity interval sessions. One group of 13 followed a protocol that has previously shown to be effective, consisting of four intervals of 4 minutes of high intensity exercise at 90% of maximal heart rate (HRmax) interspersed with 3 minutes of active recovery at 70% HRmax (4-AIT), commonly known as 4×4 training.

The other group followed a protocol that consisted of one 4-minute interval at 90% HRmax (1-AIT).

After training, VO2max increased by 10% in the group that had just one high-intensity session three times a week (1-AIT), while the group that followed the 4×4 regime increased its VO2max by 13%. Both groups saw decreases in their blood pressure, but the 1-AIT the group’s blood pressures showed greater decreases than their 4-AIT counterparts for both systolic and diastolic readings.

Tjønna says while the results look promising, the number of study participants was small, which limits the scientists’ ability to extrapolate their findings. He also noted that people who are active probably won’t benefit as much as the inactive participants did from the 1-AIT training regime.

“It has to be noted that the subjects were previously inactive, and the same effect on physical fitness cannot be expected in active individuals,” he said. “Nevertheless, since we know that more and more people are inactive and overweight, the kind of improvement in physical fitness that we saw in this study may provide a real boost for inactive people who are struggling to find the motivation to exercise.”

For what it’s worth, I started interval training nearly a year ago, trying the 8:12 Uni NSW program, and was (for a change) very impressed with the results. I now consider it essential.

I disagree with the NTNU press release that 12 minutes a week makes you “fit and healthy”. Sedentary people need more than a 10% improvement to qualify for that category, but since something like half the population is sedentary, then 12 minutes a week is could save more lives than nearly any other cheap, short intervention or drug anyone can name.

Obviously seek medical advice. Start slowly. Build up sensibly.

REFERENCES

Tjønna, A.E., Leinan, I.M., Bartnes, A.T., Jenssen, B., Gibala, M., Winett,R.A., Wisløff, U. (2013) Low- and High-Volume of Intensive Endurance Training Significantly Improves Maximal Oxygen Uptake after 10-Weeks of Training in Healthy Men. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (5): e65382 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065382

Trapp, E. G., Chisholm, D. J., Freund, J., & Boutcher, S. H. (2008). The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. Int J Obes (Lond), 32(4), 684-691.

Kodama S et al (2009) Cardiorespiratory fitness as a quantitative predictor of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events in healthy men and women: a meta-analysis.  Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 2009;301(19):2024-2035 [Abstract] [Full JAMA text]

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Fitness consensus takes a hammering. For couch potatoes, 12 minutes a week makes you fitter, 8.6 out of 10 based on 37 ratings

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113 comments to Fitness consensus takes a hammering. For couch potatoes, 12 minutes a week makes you fitter

  • #
    Peter H

    12 minutes a week not 12 weeks a minute?

    —–
    Ta! well spotted. – Jo

    20

  • #
    John F. Hultquist

    Eat wisely. Do more. As yet nothing will keep you from checking out but you can be healthier until just before you do.

    40

  • #
    Kevin Lohse

    At my time of life, I get my exercise from walking behind the cortèges of my acquaintances who took exercise.

    70

    • #
      forester126

      Kevin, I’m afraid Winston Churchill got to that quote first.

      There has been a fad on this in Britain, following a television programme about it. Another television presenter called Andrew Marr saw it and tried it, and promptly had a stroke. This is not a good idea for coach potatoes!

      30

      • #

        Be wary of studies where n = 1.

        With a 70% higher mortality rate, being a couch potato is not good for couch potatoes either.

        60

        • #
          Backslider

          a 70% higher mortality rate

          The mortality rate for humans is 100%….

          70

          • #

            The mortality rate for humans is 100%….

            Not in this study it wasn’t.

            10

            • #
              Backslider

              Not in this study it wasn’t.

              Immortality!!

              00

              • #
                Helen Armstrong

                That Black eyed Peas song

                We’re all gonna die some daayay, we’re all gonna die some day …

                Seriously this type of exercise fits in with our genetics. Lots of lying around resting and explosive intervals of hunting or fighting or flighting. Kind of like lions.

                Jo, did you have a chance to look at that research spoken of on ABC yesterday about the vegan Mormons that were healthier’ than the rest of the population? I wonder if they compared them to a control group that was matched for everything else with the Mormon wonder group other than meat eating?

                00

        • #
          forester126

          Agreed,however going from doing little to high intensity may well advance the 100% mortality a bit sooner than you might like.
          Much better starting with walking moderately quickly half an hour a day, 6 days a week.

          10

  • #
    Kevin Lohse

    I think Voltaire got to it before Winnie, in which case I’m plagiarising in the best of company. Does a coach potato train teams of armchair athletes?

    40

    • #
      forester126

      Touché Kevin there is a lesson there somewhere, oh yes, don’t trust autocorrect on your mobile.
      Winnie also said “I spend hours working on my off the cuff remarks”

      10

  • #
    sophocles

    Ah, something with which to punctuate the arduous labour of grading student assessments.
    With a clear conscience.

    Does a coach potato train teams of armchair athletes?

    … and other coach potatoes?

    10

  • #
    TimiBoy

    I lost 16 Kg in 3 months on the Dukan Diet, still doing it, consolidating. Love it. Fit as a bloody fiddle too, now. Easy done, blown away by how easy. Whingeing no longer cuts it.

    20

  • #
    Carbon500

    For twenty two years, I cycled to work – about a mile and a half to two miles each way daily. After a couple of hundred yards to warm up, I used to push hard on the pedals. As a result, my resting pulse was always in the fifties, I arrived fresh at work, and could go for a 25 to 50 mile ride at the weekend whenever I felt like it.
    My childhood years were plagued with bronchitis and (twice) pneumonia. Cycling cured all that within a year.
    There’s no doubt in my mind of the benefits of regular exercise, and there’s certainly no need to overdo it – a little and often works well.
    The training effects of even a small amount of exercise have been known for for some time – my lecturer in physiology on my degree course in human biology taught us this in the mid 1970s.
    Now retired, I’m still cycling – and I can catch electrically assisted bicycles as well!

    60

    • #
      ian hilliar

      Used to run, and loved it, till the OA in my hips made me switch to cycling. Its a real buzz, and I was back on my road bike 3 weeks after my hip replacement. My wife calls road cyclists “temporary Australians”, but a life without any risk is no life at all

      10

  • #
    Alice Thermopolis

    DANCIN’ WITH DR D – LONGER LIFE WITHOUT EXERCISE

    Forget Le Jogging, etc.

    According to one nutritionist, longer life guaranteed by:

    1. Reducing daily calorie intake with periodic “fasting”

    2. Keeping out of hospitals: number of folk who die from medical “accidents” is enough to give one an instant cardiac arrest.

    3. Not becoming a doctor: average age of death (US) only 54, presumably due to defending lawsuits from next of kin of above deceased.

    4. Taking medical advice from only three physicians – Dr Quiet, Dr Dyet and Dr Merryman [Government of Health, 1558, W. Bullein]

    Healthiest occupation? Why, undertaker. They always outlive their clients.

    60

    • #
      MudCrab

      Reducing daily calorie intake with periodic “fasting”

      Need to be careful with that. Your body starts to go into survival mode if it thinks you may not be eating again for a while and starts to cannibalise some of your less vital organs instead of doing something useful like using all that fat.

      Sure you will lose weight, but you wont be a healthy puppy.

      00

    • #
      D. J. Hawkins

      I recall a study, done with mice of course, where they made the little rodents fast one day out of three, or some such. It supposedly doubled their lifespans. Now, human beings are not large mice (though some are clearly rats!) but it is something to make one go “Hmmmm…”.

      00

  • #
    MemoryVault

    .
    Orchestra conductors have the longest lifespan of any profession.

    Apparently, waving your arms about a lot at chest height is not only good cardio-vascular exercise, it also activates the lymphatic system and helps your body get rid of toxins and waste.

    Probably helps explain why politicians seem to have long lives as well – at least those that don’t up at the gallows or the guillotine.

    40

  • #
    Olaf Koenders

    I’m a natural mesomorph with a naturally fast metabolism. At 6ft tall I weigh about 85kg, am 45 in July. I did 4 years of bodybuilding ending in ’95.

    I eat what and as much as I want, drink, smoke and do nothing much physical anymore and still don’t gain any weight because my metabolism burns it all – BECAUSE I feed it. Diets low in anything are bad.

    Every trip on the roads I get, be it on the CBR1000 or in my car, I speed and generally drive about 50% James-Bondish.

    I was born to die and know it. Besides, you’re only born twice, but you never know if it’s your second time ’round.

    20

    • #
      MemoryVault

      Agreed.

      I’ve always subscribed to the Hunter S Thompson view of life:

      “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

      Now ‘scuse me while I pour another glass of shiraz, and roll a smoke.

      80

  • #
    RoHa

    “the least fit were 70% more likely to die than the most fit ”

    So even if you are not fit there is still a 30% chance you will never die.

    10

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      Hmm, statistically speaking. 30% of blog commentators can’t do stats.

      30

      • #
        RoHa

        “30% of blog commentators can’t do stats.’

        But since 74.6% of statistics are wrong, it hardly matters.

        00

    • #

      RoHa, the stats are reported as RR or relative risk, which means the risk of death in this case. So for every fit person that died, 1.7 coach potatoes, and 1.4 average-fitness-folk also did during the study period. They only grouped people into 3 groups. An RR of 1.7 is unusually large with such broad groupings.

      From Kodama 2009
      cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and coronary heart disease (CHD)

      DATA EXTRACTION:

      Two authors independently extracted relevant data. CRF was estimated as maximal aerobic capacity (MAC) expressed in metabolic equivalent (MET) units. Participants were categorized as low CRF (< 7.9 METs), intermediate CRF (7.9-10.8 METs), or high CRF (> or = 10.9 METs). CHD and CVD were combined into 1 outcome (CHD/CVD). Risk ratios (RRs) for a 1-MET higher level of MAC and for participants with lower vs higher CRF were calculated with a random-effects model.

      DATA SYNTHESIS:

      Data were obtained from 33 eligible studies (all-cause mortality, 102 980 participants and 6910 cases; CHD/CVD, 84 323 participants and 4485 cases). Pooled RRs of all-cause mortality and CHD/CVD events per 1-MET higher level of MAC (corresponding to 1-km/h higher running/jogging speed) were 0.87 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84-0.90) and 0.85 (95% CI, 0.82-0.88), respectively. Compared with participants with high CRF, those with low CRF had an RR for all-cause mortality of 1.70 (95% CI, 1.51-1.92; P < .001) and for CHD/CVD events of 1.56 (95% CI, 1.39-1.75; P < .001), adjusting for heterogeneity of study design. Compared with participants with intermediate CRF, those with low CRF had an RR for all-cause mortality of 1.40 (95% CI, 1.32-1.48; P < .001) and for CHD/CVD events of 1.47 (95% CI, 1.35-1.61; P < .001), adjusting for heterogeneity of study design.
      CONCLUSIONS:

      Better CRF was associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality and CHD/CVD. Participants with a MAC of 7.9 METs or more had substantially lower rates of all-cause mortality and CHD/CVD events compared with those with a MAC of less 7.9 METs.

      20

  • #
    amcoz

    As every maintenance person knows full well, the faster things go, the faster things wear out, exponentially, that is; trudging along, rather than power walking, up an incline sure beats AA (angie attack), anytime.

    11

    • #
      MemoryVault

      .
      “Trudging along” sounds to me very much like “merely existing”.

      “So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”

      Hunter S Thompson

      30

      • #
        amcoz

        To exist merely to exercise seems to me pointless; nevertheless, my trudging existence beats drowning in “the storm of life”.

        00

    • #

      As every maintenance person knows full well, the faster things go, the faster things wear out

      True for a car. Not so biology.

      10

      • #
        Rob JM

        The love life of the male antechinus suggests otherwise!
        Metabolic rate is inversely proportional to life span, think shrew vs elephant!
        That being said this study shows that sprinting away from predators three times a week is good for extending your life span :)

        10

  • #
    Olaf Koenders

    Looking back at the stone age, rarely did anyone get older than around 35. Probably because they became slow moving protein for carnivores.

    That’s been going on for millions of years. Looking at it that way, we’re probably not designed to live beyond that age. It’s basically everything else that keeps us going, such as refrigeration (a biggie), medicine and innovation that made us the top of the food chain – at least in suburbia.

    10

    • #
      MemoryVault

      .
      Apparently we have the ability to grow a third set of teeth.
      Unfortunately, they don’t start replacing the second set until we’re about 160 years old.

      Seems we were originally designed to last a whole lot longer.

      20

      • #
        Olaf Koenders

        Hmm.. maybe it’s that reptilian part of us that indicates we were descended from either dinosaurs or crocodiles.

        10

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        No, we were designed to suit a U.S. Government contract specification.

        10

        • #
          MemoryVault

          No, we were designed to suit a U.S. Government contract specification.

          Naah, if that were true, we’d have so may design faults, we wouldn’t function.

          A bit like a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

          10

          • #
            MudCrab

            Awwww… happy memories…

            Not that could ever happen in Australia…

            (okay it could. One of the main issues was that while the (civilian) design teams would stay the same, the Commonwealth would rotate their people in and out of the projects, meaning the designers were basically constantly reinventing the wheel and explaining that no, it was a dumb idea last year, and the year before and yes we have studied it and no we are still not going to do it…. Happy Memories… :D )

            00

          • #
            Rereke Whakaaro

            we’d have so may design faults, we wouldn’t function

            Yes, …. and your point is …? :-)

            00

  • #

    This is good advice with a few more words of caution.

    The prescription is 4 minutes high-intensity training 3 times per week plus warming up and cooling down times, usually 3 minutes each.

    A fairly fast walk is 6 km per hour (3 minures warm up/ 3 minutes cooling down). About 12 km per hour would be high-intensity exercise. This means one kilometer in 5 minutes.

    A couch-potato between the age of 35 and 40 in average health and weight should embark on a 3-month training programme to reach a goal like one km in 5 minutes. Some kind of distance and timing measurement is needed to keep on track and to avoid overdoing the effort at the beginning.

    Anyone over the age of 35 or who is overweight by any criterion should have a stress test under supervision of a cardiologist before attempting high-intensity exercise.

    (Even so, I suggest carrying 2 full-size soluble aspirins and a bottle of water in case of cardiac event or stoke. Having a running partner and mobile phones would be wise.)

    For anyone over the age of 50 the same cautions apply plus the warning that running involves high impact on the legs and spine and is a major source of business for bone doctors, chiropractors, spine surgeons, etc.

    Jogging is probably worse for impact than running. Lower impact alternatives to running/jogging are:

    (1) swimming

    (2)walking in hilly areas. On the downslopes keep the abdomen tucked in just as you do to descend stairs safely.

    (3) walking on an inclined treadmill. The inclination of the treadmill forces a walker’s heart and lungs to perform just like fast runniung does so on flat land. Aim to reach the machine maximum by the end of 3 months.

    In general, steady easy progress is the way to win fitness. Most people quit because they begin by over doing the intensity for their level of fitness and try to progress too fast.

    Fitness is a race the tortoises win.

    Combat-Aging_dot_com

    00

    • #

      People do often quit because they overdo at first. If you are really out of shape, you may only be able to do 5 minutes of light exercise–like riding an exercise bike. This may seem like it’s a ridiculously short ride, but with time you can work up to longer and longer rides. You have to start somewhere. (This is especially true if you have had a serious illness and are trying to regain your fitnesss.)

      10

    • #

      Better than jogging (as far as joints go), use an elliptical trainer, or cycle or swim.

      The 8 sec-12 sec UNSW program means gradually pushing up heart rates in a saw tooth pattern over 20 minutes. I gradually increased the peak rate over a 4 month period. It improved my sleep, my mood, my speed, and is the only form of exercise that improved the waist-hip ratio. In the past I’ve done regular 1km swims, steep up-hill walks (200m vertical climb), weights at the gym, yoga, cycling, and tried the couch potato approach. Nothing else worked as well as the 8:12. Though the uphill bush-walks were the next best and by far the most satisying, but we don’t have hills in Perth (not close to 80% of the population anyhow). The hill walks were brilliant in Canberra. I miss Mt Majura.

      Now we both use an elliptical, but for me pushing a medium constant pace for the same time was nowhere near as useful as the intermittent form of exercise is.

      00

  • #

    Ah! Fitness! I remember it well.

    When I was Posted back to RAAF Wagga Wagga in 1986 to teach the electrical trade, it, umm, developed into a sedentary thing, spending more time on my duff than I previously had. I played Grade Cricket until I was 41, so I always thought I was fit, training two/three times a week and playing, and I cycled in the off season.

    Now back at Wagga Wagga, I was with a group of fellow electricians, and we all started on a give up smoking kick, and with that, hey, surprise surprise, our weight sort of ballooned a bit. Then, around ’87, the RAAF went on a no fatties type of drive, and they used the BMI scale for weight calculations. I found out that I was, um, six inches too short, even at 5 foot 11 (and a half), and now around 98 Kilos.

    So, ever the affirming types, a group of us started jogging, well, more walking at the start, but gradually building up to a (polite) jog. We’d do three K, and then once we could all actually jog without stopping for a walk, and I was always last at that, we upped it to four K, and then 5 K. The others, well they were just too fast for me, so more often than not I’d get left behind. After they all achieved their aims, they just, well, stopped. Only 2 of us were left, and my friend was always faster than I was, but polite enough to stay with me.

    One day he just said lets do the Airfield, as they called the track around the airfield, 7.3Km in all, and off we went. Took us 45 minutes in all, and from that time on, we did the airfield every lunch time, every day of the working week, Summer, Winter.

    What I found however was that something that at the start was almost impossible to think of and why the hell would you bother turned into something I actually looked forward to every day. I found out later it was the endorphins, the runners rush.

    From then on, my friend would run off ahead, as he was faster than I was.

    It was actually fun really.

    It took me ten Months, but I got my BMI down to my target weight 79Kilos, so in all, I lost 19 Kilos. No dieting just working more calories off during the day than I took in, or something like that, but it worked.

    Even then, I just kept at it, mainly because it was so enjoyable.

    I ran that airfield for almost four years. Got my time down to 34.50 in the end.

    Got posted to Amberley after that and kept at it for a year, and then a further year after my discharge.

    Now those running days are gone. My weight’s gone up a bit, but not too much and I just walk now, 6K once a week, and 4K two or three other times, but then I’m on the other side of 60 now.

    I’ve found out now that BMI is not a good indicator, but hey, it provided the original spur for me I suppose.

    All good fun really.

    Tony.

    40

    • #
      Olaf Koenders

      Good to hear you also have a Mil background Tony.

      I joined the Army Aug ’88, spent 3.5 years paratrooping out of 3RAR and eventually moved to a more sluggish Puckapunyal transport, where I spent the last 3.5 years, most of it bodybuilding. Unfortunately, not much of that time was spent walking in my own time. We mostly had someone yelling from the sides of the formation where we’d run or force-march tens of k’s with full gear ;)

      BMI is essentially useless. I’d like anyone to tell Mr.Olympia at nearly 200kg that he’s fat because he should be 14ft tall! That was my argument when they had “BMI tests” during the craze. For that ya need a float tank. I find it amazing how suckered otherwise intelligent people get when they’re confronted with a “new tech-sounding” metric.

      20

      • #

        Yeah, that BMI was even being discredited at the time in the late 80′s but there was one senior officer who swore by it, and cracked down, and then he got posted. Hmm!

        That airfield at Wagga Wagga. They’d have a fun run sort of thing once a year when the whole base would do the airfield, run as an event sort of thing and organised by the PTI’s.

        My youngest, Glen, was doing his trade there while I was there as well, and in his last year, on that fun run, his ‘course’ group of 12 took off as a group together, you know young guys and all that. They’d run semi flat out, and then stop and walk.

        I just ran at my normal pace.

        I passed their group and one young guy said, hey Glen, isn’t that your old man, umm, FltSgt Lang.

        Off they went, flat out for another K, and then stopped to a walk again.

        Hey Glen, there he is again, as I passed them.

        Three further times that happened, and they had to put in at the end to finish in front of me.

        I was never going to beat them, but hey, that was never the idea.

        Not long after that, I heard his ‘course’ of 12 ran the airfield as a group just to see if they could run the whole distance without stopping for a walk.

        Next time he came around for Saturday night dinner, he, umm, mentioned it to me, and politely asked my best time.

        And then he pilfered all my Pink Floyd tapes. I never did get them back.

        Tony.

        10

        • #
          Dave

          O/T Tony,

          But when I started Uni in 73, we had a new army coach of our Rugby Union team. He used to stumble around a bit awkwardly and being young 18 year old UNI students, we’re not the best pupils, he was holding up the tacking bags, and one of the blokes (100kg plus) decided to miss the bag and get the coach low on the legs. I think he was a bit dazed for a few minutes, the coach was still standing there looking down in amazement. He was I think a Major at the time in Townsville, Bill Rolfe (Only then found out he stepped on a land mine in Vietnam). He ended up taking us to an A grade premiership, including knocking off the Army team early on in the season. Best leader and mentor that club and I ever had. I coached the Army (Lavarack) water polo team the following year after he asked me. Never felt like a traitor, at all after what he did for us.

          But still used to go the the Vale Hotel on Friday arvos and blue with a few of the AG regulars. It was the greatest of times. How lucky was I?

          Thank you Bill Rolfe and what a contribution to veterans he’s made since.

          30

    • #
      MudCrab

      BMI is a blight on western civilisation.

      I am currently about 97kg and 174cm which makes me under BMI firmly in that evil OBESE group that our beloved government is so concerned about. The only reason I am not currently playing competitive collision sport (cause contact sport is for pussies :P ) is I am recovering from ligament damage.

      Not saying I am completely where I want to be with my body fat but no one makes donut jokes at me and people I train with comment on how good I am looking. (well from the neck down at least… :P )

      Completely scrapping the BMI test would cure a lot of non existant problems the government moan about as well as removing the strain many people of all ages feel in attempting to fit into the non existant ‘perfect’ body.

      00

  • #
    Dave

    .

    If we increase our VO2max from about 20mL/kg/min to 40mL/kg/min and live longer – aren’t we then increasing our carbon footprint globally.
    Increased CO2 exhalation
    Increased demand for food
    Increased bowel movement (volume and rate) (Carbon sequestration is the real objective)

    This all adds up, and I think triathletes etc (lycra, carbon fibre bikes, Audi Bike Transporter, energy food, empty bottles flung into the bush, leg shavers, coffee club membership, hire plastic mobile porta-loos) have a far greater impact on the environment (carbon footprint) than say a local sedentary conscientious objector, who only drives once a week to the bottle shop. I am currently doing the LCA on the conscientious objector.

    Plus you don’t see many OLD triathletes, but heaps of OLD drunks around. (do I use sarc key here?)

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    • #
      Olaf Koenders

      Nice one Dave, I like it. Detractors will say that unhealthy people put such a drag on the medical system, but it’s all money, that goes to the doctors and keeps nurses employed.

      All this exercise, burning energy and tofu for essentially nothing are just to make these posers feel good. Sure, it does if you see results. But I’ve got far better things to do with my energy than sweat it out by racing somebody in the freezing rain, for a blue ribbon – if I win.

      I mean, many marathon runners or cyclists don’t even look that physically appealing. Long skinny arms, athletic legs, ribs sticking out. I’m channeling Steve Moneghetti here.

      20

      • #
        MemoryVault

        .
        Apparently the leading cause of death for competitive marathon runners, is heart attack.

        So, be a couch potato, eat, drink and be merry, die of a heart attack.
        Be a marathon runner, train every day, die of a heart attack.

        .
        Thumper and I have had cats all our lives.
        I’ve never seen a cat doing cardio-vascular exercises to keep fit.
        In fact, most of the time cats just sleep, with an occasional yoga-style stretch when they wake up.

        Nonetheless, I’ve never had a cat I could outrun.

        30

        • #
          Dave

          Shlt it’s good to have you back MV.

          Laughed out loud, “Thumper & I have had cats etc…..”
          What do you call the cat?

          Great. Thumbs Up.

          20

          • #
            MemoryVault

            Hi Dave,

            I was never away – just got tired of the “everything will be better after the election” attitude, on the one hand, and the “somebody should do something” moaning on the other – without any of the moaners actually doing anything.

            So I took some time off to create a candidate for the next federal election. It’s not easy creating the websites, Facebook pages, and twitter accounts to allow one candidate to run in all 150 House of Representative seats.

            But now it is done. Now we wait.

            ———————–

            As for the cats – too many to list all the names.

            Soon after Thumper and I got married in 1980 (wedding anniversary this Sunday), we bought 40 acres with a view to becoming self-sufficient. Trouble was, it would be at least three years before the property generated enough income to pay the mortgage.

            So I took a job with the Department of Social Security (DSS – now Centrelink). When I parked the car on my very first day, I could hear mewling coming from a rock retaining wall. Sure enough, someone had dumped eight newborn kittens.

            So I spent my first day on the job with a box of kittens at my feet, under the desk.

            30

            • #
              Andrew McRae

              I’m embarassed, Mr Nunnov, at just how long it took me to put two and two together, and what your candidate’s name will look like on the ballot paper.

              It’s devious.
              It’s Australian.
              It’s not the candidate we deserve but it’s the candidate we need.

              I now know where my first preference is going.

              Which candidate will reign in the budget, cut the snooping, restore respect of privacy and private property, and deliver ALL their election promises? NUNNOV, Themm!
              Hooray!

              10

      • #
        Dave

        Yes,

        I agree, I had a great youth through to 40′s Rugby, Water Polo surfing etc, traveled everywhere, worked everywhere, and am very comfortable with my 95kg (6′ 1″) but my BMI doctor says I am almost obese?? Cut out this, cut out that, eat it up it’s good for you, – all I want to do is enjoy my nearly 60′s and be content and continue working (be it reduced).

        Some of my friends who settled down early, worked their whole life now at 60 are taking up bloody triathlons etc. They keep telling me to join them. But I’ve already done that when my body was able to cope with it, and don’t want to pound out a triathlon swim, cycle & run. I watch it on tele with a 4X. Then a read and maybe a snack (couple of King prawns on fresh white bread) and then an hours snooze (How good is this on a Saturday arvo).

        I think being happy and content can also extend life span, but if it doesn’t, bloody great, at least I’ve enjoyed it.

        I can still do a hard days work (garden, rock walls, digging, trucks, 25 hours per week) with some of the young ones, but the new FIT elite are just wasting their enjoyable years on LYCRA wearing. My enjoyable years are NOW reading, Internet (Jo’s Blog +), working part time, spending time with the good lady and watching our son go through life.

        30

  • #
    Bob Malloy

    Off Topic, but interesting.

    Ausgrid divesting green energy assets in the Hunter.

    http://www.nbnnews.com.au/index.php/2013/05/31/kooragangs-wind-turbine-on-the-market/

    For those that followed Anthony Watts Australian tour,you may remember Watts featuring the wind turbine on his site.

    10

  • #
    Olaf Koenders

    Life is wasted on the young.

    Kids are full of energy, while their run-down and overworked parents just want to relax. It only gets worse with age. When kids get to a certain age, they should be put to work.

    I would say their mental capacities are somewhat lacking in order to achieve any balance, but I’m sure they could run rings around anyone in gubberment.

    10

    • #

      I always believed children had all the energy because adults with that much energy AND their lifetime of learning could be very dangerous! :)

      10

  • #
    janama

    As well as a vascular system we also have a lymphatic system. The lymphatic system doesn’t have a heart and it depends on body movement to pump it which is why the main glands are in your neck, armpits and groin.

    According to Wiki the lymph system:

    It is responsible for the removal of interstitial fluid from tissues
    It absorbs and transports fatty acids and fats as chyle from the digestive system
    It transports white blood cells to and from the lymph nodes into the bones
    The lymph transports antigen-presenting cells (APCs), such as dendritic cells, to the lymph nodes where an immune response is stimulated.

    Exercise pumps the lymph glands and is one of the reasons you feel bright and fresh after an exercise session.

    10

    • #
      Sceptical Sam

      Spot on Janama.

      Long slow work not only pumps the Lymph system but additionally builds capillaries in the vascular system. Increased capillarization is what you need, and especially a good capillary system in the heart muscle. It helps save lives by providing detours during any coronary occlusion – builds your second chance.

      Arthur Lydiard, probably one of the greatest NZ coaches of middle and long distance runners, always insisted on long slow work a the basic building block (base endurance training) for endurance. And periodisation too, that delivers a similar benefit – short periods of high intensity work interspersed with longer periods of lower intensity. (Lydiard is quoted in some places as not advocating long slow work, but having listened to him for hours I can tell you they’re wrong).

      My programme, designed by me for me (a 66 year old) hasn’t changed much over the years since I stopped playing competitive sport half a lifetime ago: 55 minutes brisk walking 5 or 6 days a week, rain, hail or shine; plus swimming in the warmer months (these days at Cott, Leighton or Port beaches – depending where the sharks aren’t!). I never run. Not even to catch a bus. Red wine with meals (Murrumbateman Four Winds Cab Merlot 2010 is my current favourite tipple, but one needs to guard against cellar palate ;-) so it varies – and it’s the best “liver cleansing” diet you could ever adopt). I gave the gaspers up at 30, but I have to say I never had one that I didn’t enjoy and if they didn’t kill you, I’d still be puffing away. But they do; and so I don’t.

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    Yonniestone

    Well I’m not the sort of person to brag of athletic achievements so don’t take my comments as me doing so, this is rare for me.
    As a young fella starting high school I found running distance to be quite natural and soon found myself placing high or winning club or district cross country races.
    I also took up squash and steadily developed into an A grade player 3 years later, I tried Australian Racquetball and won my first Australian U/19 title within the year won next year and got to the Open semi finals after that.
    I could switch between the 2 sports quite easily and locally I was unbeaten in Racquetball from when I started to retiring 10 years? later.
    1990 I decided to play squash professionally moved to Melbourne and in my 1st Australian open I managed to defeat a 30th world ranked player before being knocked out.
    Well the recession hit hard and I had to work again and my priorities changed but I always kept fit and tried many other sports but playing full time taught me so much about what the human body can and can’t do but I didn’t know everything.
    Years later around 35 I wanted to lose some weight and tone up as I found my metabolism slowing down and so I discovered the Spartan Health Regime which would change my entire outlook on diet and conditioning.
    After 3 months of doing this I had lost 10 kg of fat but gained at least 5 kg of muscle and my health had never been better, I never got sick!
    Also my worn out back never went out as you develop core and real world strength it is actually quite a simple system and I was skeptical of it to start with but I thought well if I use myself as a test subject I’ll know for sure.
    So for anyone who wants to know the most important lesson I’ve learnt about the human body is that it loves regularity, in exercise and diet, it’s very simple but the biggest obstacle is the human mind.
    A lot of rubbish about health has been thrown around for years now and like AGW people will fall for it, so don’t be shy to ask questions and I’ll tell you what I know, thanks.

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    • #
      KinkyKeith

      Hi Yonnie

      You braggart.

      But to ease your conscience something we have in common;

      Spent all my youth body surfing; couldn’t afford a board such as they were in those days.
      .
      I’ve done 800 m in 2:00:0.2 secs. Never got under 2 mins. 1500 m in 4:12:0.5 ,,and 20 miles in 2hr 10 mins

      Old people should walk or ride bikes.

      Agree with the idea of short hard bursts because it must open up the system and give it a good challenge that doesn’t come from just walking to the corner.

      KK :)

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      • #
        Yonniestone

        Hi KK, I take it your talking running with those times, very impressive, 800m is a mongrel distance to master.
        I don’t believe in low impact as bone density improves with resistance but you have to have the proper nutrients to make it happen and factor in wear and tear, like getting old!
        For years people have over trained, guilty, but now have realized the body will react to extra forces, this is a classic example you will find in any gym where guys will put hours in to get big only to get toned.
        Why? because the muscles are adapting for endurance not strength, Dorian Yates was famous for a 1/2 hour workout and was massive (the roids helped too) but trained less than his competitors.
        The body loves regularity and diet is a huge part, Vince Gironda (bodybuilding guru) once said “bodybuilding is 80% nutrition and the rest hard work” couldn’t agree more.

        10

        • #
          Cookster

          Wow, those were impressive times KK. I agree Older people should walk or ride bikes.

          The key to excersize is enjoying it. It you enjoy doing it it’s not chore. I was fortunate to try my hand at Triathlons in my 20s. It was addictive. 20 Years later and I’m far to busy to fit in training for 3 different sports so I settle on riding my bike 4 very early mornings a week. I find this thoroughly enjoyable but the fitness and health benefits are a welcome side effect.

          For those who don’t have much time Jo’s story gives welcome hope. But – those 12 minutes per week will need to be done at a very unfomfortable level of intensity – older or very unfit people would be well advised to get a full medical check before hand. High intensity will expose any hidden cardiovascular deficiencies.

          10

      • #
        KinkyKeith

        Hi Cookster and Yonnie.

        My first coach when I was 13, Jerry L, was an immigrant from Europe just after WW2.

        He had been in the same athletic club as Emile Zatopek in Czechoslovakia and had my mate and I running 2 laps warm up then 8 >< 440 , that was a test of mental strength.

        In hindsight it wasn't much in terms of volume but it did get results.

        Had always lifted some weights as a kid but was introduced to proper weight training in my early 20s and did the exercises with 3 sets of ten with the last set designed to fail. Each set was 10 lbs more than the previous. Graduated effort.

        Again after 6 weeks you could look back and see the progress. In both running and weights the secret seemed to be , as you say, regular intensive effort.

        Thoroughly agree with the full medical chk. These TV weight loss programmes scare the crap out of me.

        KK :)

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    MadJak

    I tried exercise once. I ended up being short of breath. I thought to myself, there ain’t no way this can be good for you….

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    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      I have always been fit.

      My secret is that I always jump to conclusions. I often run around in circles. I sometimes walk on the wild side. I can twist the argument, I press the advantage. I frequently fly off the handle. I catch the meaning. I have been known to dive for cover. I certainly spin a good yarn, and I can often pull somebody’s leg,

      70

  • #
    Dennis

    My German Shepherd Dog agrees.

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  • #
    Dennis

    I examined my couch, even looked underneath, no potatoes found

    20

  • #
    Dennis

    Reporting for the Heart Foundation I recommend Coenzyme Q10 for ymuscle development and energy, the heart being a muscle

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  • #
    Joe Public

    I’m surprised some enterprising Research Fellow hasn’t applied for a grant to calculate the excess CO2 generated by hyper-active Fitness Fanatics.

    I’m sure the results would lead to the banning of all exercise.

    20

  • #
    Manfred

    For the life of me I can’t find the reference (and excellent lecture on YouTube) at the moment but the exciting (this depends on one’s perspective I suppose, judging from the range displayed here) point about short burst intense exercise is that it has been observed to exert a profound influence on insulin sensitivity. So, 15 mins over a week in maybe 1 min. bursts at odd times adding up to the same, alters insulin sensitivity profoundly. In essence, this means one is less likely to develop metabolic syndrome, a particularly modern epidemic. Metabolic syndrome is the rise in BMI, decline in insulin sensitivity and rise in blood pressure. It is associated with the development of cardiovascular disease, stroke and with type II non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM). The ‘catch’ here is that there appear to be genetic non-responders, that is there are small proportion of individuals who do not respond or benefit metabolically to this short burst exercise approach.

    The other important bit to this is that it doesn’t let you off the hook of calorie control, whether achieved through low impact sustained calorie burning exercise or simply eating less. In essence this is achieved through aerobic activity. Of course one could combine intensity with this and thrash yourself to death at a say 1000kcal expenditure and hour – possibly a 12 MET output. Olympian swimmers might do this. Most of us don’t.

    My understanding is that in a calorie analysis of a less sophisticated ‘hunter gather’ population a surprising finding revealed itself. This finding suggested that the hunter gather group expended about as many calories as those living in the usual 21st century cocoons.

    When one thinks about it, this makes sense. Survival implies strict energy management and minimisation of waste. Unless you’re fruitfully engaged in the act of hunting, you sit quite still and enjoy the delayed and prolonged gratification of your last hunting expedition. When you’ve finished eating you ferment the scraps and drink the alcohol. Someone else found a few leaves that smell nice and seem to produce a pleasant effect, so you puff happily on these with the group in the collective peace pipe.

    A problem with modern life is the persistent over consumption of readily available high density calorie foods (not normally available easily in the brutally short lived ‘natural’ environment of supposed Green perfection) in addition to the naturally less readily available, mild perception altering substances of alcohol and tobacco.

    So within reason it is feasible to be both overweight and metabolically ‘fit’. Being static (whether living in calorie balance or not) is much less ideal for long term health and inconsistent with present moment metabolic fitness. The concept of ‘intense exercise’ here is really little more than running up a flight of stairs, momentarily giving it a decent effort, or walking as fast as you can up a hill.

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    • #
      KinkyKeith

      An interesting comment Manfred.

      Now we got context as a guide.

      Insulin, lifestyle, all great ideas and perspective.

      KK :)

      10

      • #
        Dave

        .

        As hunter gatherers in the modern world we also select suitable mates as we did centuries ago. aka LION pride. Times have changed today.

        Survival of the fittest, if it is now based on the selection of BMI, VO2max, fitness, ability to provide for family, both male and female, coming down to money only in this GREEN world maybe, and not physical inherited genetics, what will be the result of future generations?

        Good analysis Manfred.

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    • #
      Yonniestone

      Hunter gatherers also had the advantage of consuming nutrient dense raw foods which wont cause obesity and satisfy hunger for longer.
      It’s also suggested humans became larger, heavier, stronger and smarter due to the consumption of animal meat.
      Which might explain or larger brains and slightly smaller digestive organs than other primates who mostly eat fruit.
      They would have kept busy making shelter keeping fires fighting etc.

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    • #
      Myrrh

      I watched a programme on tv about this recently, don’t recall the doc leading the research on this, sorry, but they found dramatic improvements for diabetics in a three minute per week programme.

      Three times a week of one minute high intensity workout, such as gym bike, 3 times 20 seconds with short recovery in between.

      Will have a look for his name.

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    • #
      Bulldust

      There was an episode of Horizon (The truth about exercise) which covered this topic. The story is here:

      http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17177251

      There is a short clip on Youtube from the program:

      http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=v7-h_w7bJrU&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dv7-h_w7bJrU

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      • #
        Bulldust

        The show claimed genetics played a factor, making some people more receptive to fitness improvements from to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Some get better results from longer sessions of lower intensity aerobic training, and some struggle to get much improvement with either regimen. All comes down to genetics, they claimed, if I recall correctly.

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      Manfred

      Here is the fulsome detail on this subject for those interested.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E42TQNWhW3w

      The truth about Exercise and public health – Professor James Timmons Dec 2012
      A health lecture given to the general public at Cardiff University Medical School, December 2012. The topic of exercise guidelines and level of scientific proof is discussed. A very useful resource for anyone writing about exercise, health, fitness etc.

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    Scott Scarborough

    These studies seem to counterdict one another. There are other studies that say if your job requires a lot of sitting you will die early no matter how much exercise you get at other times of the day. That indicates that long periods of very low level exercise (ie. standing instead of sitting) is the best for your health. I run a 5K every work-day morning but my job can require much sitting so this concerns me.

    10

    • #
      janama

      so you are suggesting you need a job that requires you to run 5k every day. – Try Garbage collection :)

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    MudCrab

    Probably a bit sports related as you clearly target your fitness style to suit your sport, but we never did much traditional running for fitness. Took too long doing endless laps and cut into skills time.

    What we (and I use ‘we’ in a loose term here… :P ) did do was lots of conditioning style work near the end of training nights. 20x10m sprinted shuttles. Up back up back up back up back. When you finally staggered into screaming death and finished your partner would do the same while you recovered. Then you would do the same thing two more times.

    If you were late for training you got to do the same thing, but carrying a brick.

    Running laps was purely for warm up and cool down.

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    nc

    I used to work for a public electrical utility that at one time included public transportation, buses and just about every other trade and occupation imaginable. This utility sent out regular newsletters including a section called, In Memoriam, listing those that had passed. What was interesting is that time and again it was bus drivers as a group that seemed to live the longest. The shortest life span, managers.

    Just an observation, not scientific.

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    Roy Hogue

    I see some other comments about this,

    A review of results from 102,000 people showed that if people are split into groups of “fitness” the least fit were 70% more likely to die than the most fit (Kodama et al 2009).

    And really, it does need qualification. Everyone is, at face value, 100% likely to die.

    I’m not opposed to reasonable fitness but when I see a statement like this one leading off on some subject my temptation is to drop the whole thing right there.

    The real truth — and I pinned my doctor down on this until I was satisfied I knew the whole story — all this fitness isn’t a guarantee of anything. The very fit die of heart disease and the very unfit survive it. At the very best this tells me what I already knew, that being fit does improve you likelihood of surviving trouble and it certainly does improve the quality of your life.

    The question is how much longer can you expect to live by being physically fit? And it’s got a different answer for each individual.

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    • #

      C’mon Roy.”everyone will die?” as if it doesn’t matter whether it’s next year or twenty years. :-)

      You are not the only one here suggesting the study is wrong because your doc said so, or (as others say) they aren’t dead yet, or they know someone who was fit and keeled over.

      It’s as if people want to find reasons not to exercize… ;-)

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      • #
        Roy Hogue

        Jo,

        You missed my point. I get pounded all day long with the kind of statement that says if you aren’t doing this you better start doing it or you’re at serious risk of dying. And if not that way then the converse, if you’re doing this you better stop it.

        No, Jo! Generalizations applied to human beings don’t tell you as much as the generalizers want you to believe. Humans are as unique as snowflakes. My cardiologist wants me to be deathly afraid of salt, saying it will raise my blood pressure. I use it as I please anyway and my blood pressure is something many men my age would kill to get, literally that of a 20 year old, not a man age 74.

        As I said, I’m not opposed to being fit but I am opposed to those who make such sweeping statements. The real truth is as I said, the fit often die young and the unfit often die in old age. And there is no way to know which way your life will go. These are people trying to tell you all about yourself without knowing a useful thing about your real chance of dying. Physical fitness is a lot more valuable for the benefit to your ability to do the things you want to do every day while you are alive than it is for confidence that you’ll live a long time.

        After you’ve been through as much as I have you learn to be skeptical of health advice just as you should be skeptical about CO2 nonsense.

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        • #
          Roy Hogue

          PS:

          I’m not suggesting that the study is wrong. I just don’t think it’s very useful.

          I keep wondering how I managed to reach 74 years without all these experts to tell me how to do it. Interesting question, yes? Or at least it should be.

          I’m not looking for reasons not to exercise either. I’m looking for good reasons to do more than I do and I’m not finding them. Fitness beyond a certain point has no benefit unless you’re a gymnast, a marathon runner or something like that.

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        • #

          Roy, I’m glad to hear your blood pressure is low. Yes, you are right to be skeptical of health advice. That was one of my points here. The consensus told us not so long back that we were supposed to do 30 mins of low impact “make sure you can still keep up a conversation” type exercise. For me that was fairly useless.
          As for studies showing that heart-lung fitness matters more than the number of minutes spent in official “exercise” each week — that information has already been very useful to me. I’m fitter and healthier and do it in less time.
          It’s possible there are people this does not apply too, I have seen studies showing a small part of the population just don’t respond to exercise.
          This is not just a random “Correlation” study. There is a mechanism.
          Studies suggest “peak” exercise increases insulin sensitivity and insulin has been connected to aging in nearly every life form studied from nematodes and yeast up to mammals. Reducing insulin resistance doesn’t just help with obesity and diabetes, but also with neurodegeneration.

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          • #
            Roy Hogue

            Roy, I’m glad to hear your blood pressure is low.

            Thanks Jo. However, my point was not that my blood pressure is low but that we all are unique with a unique genetic makeup. I have no idea why my blood pressure stays so low. My doctor doesn’t know either.

            All your links are very interesting to me because I was married to a diabetic — onset at age 7 — for 31 years. I long believed that the wide swings of insulin level that happen to diabetics every day was responsible for the complications that go with the disease, particularly of the circulatory system, even though no doctor ever would give even a guess about why those things happen. It looks like my (lucky) guess was right. But it was just a matter of there being no other probable explanation.

            Since our son is now diabetic I hope this research leads to some improved treatment options. Otherwise I’m likely to watch him start to go through what his mother went through. It really isn’t a pretty thing to contemplate. Thankfully he’s still doing well. But somehow I can’t stop being a father.

            I do exercise but now that I’m constrained by needing to use a cane (balance problem) I can’t do the walking I used to do and would still like to do.

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            • #

              Roy–It may or may not be the wide swings in insulin and blood sugar levels that do the damage to diabetics. I have been diabetic 41 years and am what used to be called “brittle”–my blood sugars swing from 350 down to 72 and back up. All over the map. No one has been able to control it–I just go with it. I have no complications at this point. A diabetes educator once told me no one really knows what causes the complications. Some people develop complications in 10 years, some in 50 or more. It’s very individual. I certainly agree that if research could somehow figure out what goes on with diabetics and prevent complications, that would be great. However, there is no reason to believe this won’t be as complicated as why some people get high blood pressure. I hope your son is fortunate and has few or no complications. (I also credit good genetics for much of health issues. We can make things better or worse by our behaviour, but the genetics are still going to have pronounced effect.)

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              • #
                Roy Hogue

                Sheri,

                You have been very blessed and I hope continues that way for you. My son is also doing well at this point and thank you for your good wishes for him.

                Your case, as you state, serves to illustrate my point. Humans are unique and generalizations aren’t of much real use when the bottom line is written. The odds, if you figure them out, are that you would be having serious trouble by now. My first wife beat the odds by a bit (44 years) for which I’m very thankful. But she went through a lot of trouble.

                The genetics angle is very interesting because it now looks like environment, particularly stress, can actually turn off some genes and turn on others. This changes how medicine is going to be done in the future I think.

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  • #
    Doug Proctor

    Jo -

    Absolutely 12 minutes per week is not enough – for anything other than getting winded, your heart rate racing and fearing for your life.

    The human body needs exercise. But if you look around you, the average human isn’t interested. My guesstimate is that we are willing, on average, to work enough to be 20% better than the minimum we must be for the lifestyle activities that are highest on our list.

    (In terms of weight, this means if, as me, 155 lbs is so skinny I really have to gain, and 205 is so heavy I really have to lose weight, I have a 50 lb variance inwhich I can wander before I really, really have to do something. 20% is 10 lbs, so between 165 and 195 I don’t have to do anything, though I should be at 175 for balanced health. Which also shows how I will tolerate 20 lbs too heavy vs 10 lbs too light.)

    Exercise is annoying, unpleasant and time-awkward for those who don’t count exercise as one of their pleasantries. Which is most people. Most people watch TV, sit on lounge chairs and enjoy the sun, go to movies and hang with friends. Minimal exertion. So how good of shape do you need to be in to do that? Not much.

    Look around: people are heavy, not just the obsese. Because they eat and drink too much, not because they don’t exercise. 400 calories goes into the belly in a few minutes, 400 calories takes 37 minutes at 5.1 km/hour on a 15% treadmill (if you can believe treadmills). The mathematical ratio of output vs input is 5 or 10 to 1.

    You’ll never get people to exercise until it is in their immediate interest to be in better shape, i.e. whatever they wish to do, they have to be in better shape for. You can’t even force them to exercise by taking away their cars, as public transit becomes a priority. Bike paths are for the young (mostly) and determined (all).

    Perhaps the eco-green could have work-out camps set up for the overweight, carbon-sucking non-friends of the Earth when they take over. Except for the portly leadership, of course.

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    Ace

    “…A review of results from 102,000 people showed that if people are split into groups of “fitness” the least fit were 70% more likely to die than the most fit (Kodama et al 2009). Dr Mike Nichols summarizes the importance of that result…”

    Sorry but thats heinous pseudo-science. The most “fit” are ALSO the people from the better genetic stock, higher income group, with most life opportunities, safest jobs, better education, better health care etc. What we see is called a “convergence” of multiple co-occurrent factors onto a single outcome: increased longevity. To pick out one variable and correlate it with that outcome will show that ANY variable is THE SINGLE FACTOR…whichever one you pick out. Its meaningless, trash, drivel.

    Im saying this as someone who had had no serious physical illness by the age of fifty and never engaged in any “exercise”.

    If you want longevity, eat less and stay indoors.

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      Ace,

      They controlled for many confounders, had a huge sample and only split it into three groups yet still showed a large difference. They tested for confounders of smoking and obesity which are in many ways proxies for wealth and education.

      To examine the effect of study characteristics on risk reduction per 1-MET higher level of MAC, sensitivity analyses were conducted for the possible confounders (mean age [≥50 years or not], sex [only men or not], adjustment for smoking [yes or no], adjustment for multiple confounders, defined as adjustment for >3 factors among obesity, hypertension, total cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and diabetes [yes or no], mean follow-up [≥12 years or <12 years], instrument for assessing CRF [ergometer or others], and maximal exercise testing [yes or no]). To examine the extent to which between-study heterogeneity was explained by these study characteristics, we additionally conducted linear multiple regression analyses by simultaneously entering these confounders as explanatory variables.

      You have a sample of one surviving to middle age? ;-)

      Fitness and physical activity are not the same thing.

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        Ace

        The part you quote only specifies confounding variables that are themslves medical factors, nothing about socio-economic variables expressed through occupation, risk exposure and relevant culturally related propensities or traits (eg, predisposition towards seeking medical help_ let alone socio-economic variables expressed through access to and quality of medical treatment. In effect, only controlling for differences between morbidities within populations and not in the likely emergence of morbidities between population groups.

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          Ace

          …In other words, white middle class people engage in “exercise” more than oiks and the same middle class people make better use of better quality medical resources than oiks. Leadeasier, safer lives. Have the better resourcesto fall back upon. Its circular. Nothing in the above controlls for that.

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    FijiDave

    Well, I can assure you that this got my heart rate up – my [wife] now wishes she hadn’t pointed it out to me. No decrease in BMI, just an increase in bile production.

    Disgusting.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/features/lifestyle/going-green/8741776/Climate-change-denial-industry-keeping-busy

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      Bite Back

      All the usual appeal to consensus BS but no data, no nothing. They do have the same 15-year-old’s attitude about it of course.

      If you say it often enough it becomes true. If you ridicule the dissenters you attract a whole new stable of supporters who’re looking for someone to feel superior to. If you dismiss the dissenters you attract another whole new stable of supporters who desperately want someone to look down on. The one thing you don’t do is engage in public debate on the relative merit of the two positions based on actual data. To do that would expose you immediately.

      If you’re a fool you can attract fools like a magnet attracts iron filings. But if you’re a wise man you have to fight to be heard.

      Bite Back’s prediction:

      Things will get much worse in the coming years. There will come a tipping point at which those who are suffering under the rules and regulations of climate change no longer see anything to lose by resorting to violence. Then all hell will break loose and the climate change industry along with government supporting it will be among those in the cross hairs.

      I can no longer honestly say I have any sympathy for those who oppress others, whether they honestly believed in the cause or not. They will get the natural result of what they do. UNFORTUNATELY MANY INNOCENTS WHO DO NOT DESERVE IT WILL ALSO GET HURT.

      Such is life. Arm yourselves and take whatever measures you can to defend what’s yours as best you can.

      BB

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    FijiDave

    Grrr.

    Wife!

    [Fixed] ED

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    DaveA

    This isn’t such a new finding. A recent BBC Horizon documentary covered this subject area. Also some scientists have tracked down the genes which determine how well we respond to exercise; some not so well.

    The Truth About Exercise
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01cywtq

    can view here?
    http://vimeo.com/m/64046221

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    J.H.

    It works. Your fitness comes right up. I weigh 80kgs so weight isn’t a problem with me, lack of fitness is/was… I do a 4 minute workout once a day and an hour walk(6km) a couple a times a week. The walk used to be every day, but I get bored walking and my left knee won’t handle jogging… Here’s a video on Youtube that shows a good 4 min workout.

    This one is 4 exercise types done for 20 seconds and ten second rest between each one, for two rounds. The exercises are Squat Thrusts, High knees, Mountain climbers, Jumping jacks.

    I gave the Mountain climbers a miss and just double up on the Squat thrusts… I do thirty seconds on, instead of twenty and ten seconds off.

    If you are not that fit, you will be flat out doing two rounds first off….. If so, for the first couple of times, first week even, just do one round. You don’t want to discourage yourself by making yourself sick….. But it is important to do the exercise groups as fast as you cleanly can before the ten second rest. You want to be puffin’ like a steam train at the end the end of the first round. As you get fitter, you still puff, it just doesn’t knock you around. You recover much faster.

    …. and get an automatic timer that beeps at set intervals. Don’t count. That way you just concentrate on the exercises…

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    John Brookes

    I once heard of a routine that involved 8 lots of very intense 30 second bursts of exercise with 4 minutes of easy exercise in between. So I decided to replace my moderately hard 45 minute cycle to Freo with the same ride, but with the eight 30 second bursts in there. But I gave it up pretty quickly, because it left me much more tired than my normal ride.

    While cycling is pleasant, and can be good exercise, it has this flaw – you can always stop pedalling and roll. You can’t do that with running, because you feel silly when you slow to a walk.

    As for exercise being good for your health, I’m sure it is, but the reason I do it is because it makes me feel good (and like I earned my coffee and croissant).

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    Alan D McIntire

    The Czech Olympian, Emil Zatopek, knew this back in the 1950s. He reasoned that the heart is a muscle, and by putting stress on your heart, you can improve the strength of your heart just as you can improve the strength of your arms by lifting weights, and the strength of your legs by running upstairs.

    Zatopek’s system was to do quick sprints, alternating with slow jogs during a workout. His heart had to speed up for the sprints, slow down for the jogs, constantly changing rates. It’s called “Fartlek” training, and I’m sure most high school runners are aware of this effective training method thanks to their coaches.

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    Someone once said “If you feel like exercise, lie down until the feeling goes away!” Love the comment, can’t follow it.

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    dlb

    I heard about this recently on a BBC programme.
    Sound like consensus science to me (sarc)

    Seriously, I hope all this research is plausible, though being a sceptic it wouldn’t surprise me if in the long run (sorry pun) it turns out to be largely wrong.

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    Earl

    Has any-one else noticed that the ABC has gone a bit quite on AGW the last couple of weeks. For some time there would be at least one or two “we are are all going to die stories due to AGW , every weather event would be attributed to the evil CO2, and there would be a terrifying pronouncement from the Climate Change Commission, or at least from Prof. Panasonic.
    Or could it be that that I have reduced my exposure to ABC rantings, particularly after a news item on the night of the 400 PPM of CO2 milestone (Saturday), when the young lady pronounced that “this is a considerable portion of the air that we breathe.” The absolute stupidity of this statement took my breathe away. Are ABC presenters so incompetent that they are not able to do basic percentages? From my primary school understanding of proportion, if the atmosphere was valued at $100, then 400 PPM would be 4 cents and 3% of that, ( Humans contribution to CO2 emissions ) would be 112 thousandths of a cent. That by any stretch of the most fertile imagination, is not a considerable portion of the air we breathe. If Alan Jones or any skeptic blogger made this mistake, he would banished and have to under go retraining.

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    bananabender

    There has never been any “consensus” amongst exercise scientists that 30 minutes of exercise three times a week is enough. In fact they have always argued in favour of relatively large amounts (1-2 hours daily) of vigorous physical activity.

    Professor Loren Cordain an exercise physiologist and expert of paleolithic lifestyles once defined “adequate exercise” for a male as

    running 15 miles every day wearing a 25lb backpack.

    The 30 minutes a day mantra is actually the lowest level of physical activity that shows any health benefits. It is a compromise value because public health authorities were scared that suggesting higher levels of activity would result in negligible compliance. It has recently (2011) been upgraded to a minimum of 60 minutes everyday.

    “Long slow distance” has a totally different meaning to athletes. It actually means training at 60-80% of race pace for a very long period. It doesn’t mean dawdling. An elite middle distance runner may consider running for two hours at 15km/h to be “long slow distance”. Yet this would be an impossible feat for 99.99% of the population.

    Interval training has been routinely used by athletes since before WW2. It is not some new-fangled invention.

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