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mercredi 29 octobre 2014


If you are a rickshaw puller in Calcutta or a Bici driver (bicycle taxi) driver in Baracoa, you wouldn't be concerned too much about going to the Gym and getting fit. What you normally do would keep you fit and the rickshaw driver has far more existential needs to think about physical fitness.
In the western world, where the most precious commodity is time, how many people do what the health “Gurus” and actual experts say about keeping healthy and fit:
150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. Woody Allen might say that sex is a good way to get those 75 minutes, but vigorous  sex, despite being pleasurable, does not make the mark.
Only 20 per cent or less, one in five or less, are keen to don on Gym Shorts or play sport. What about the rest of us, four out of five?
Is there a way, to live your life and have exercise become a part of your life? It has become obvious that there is a way, as recent studies demonstrate.
If you have grown up in Australia or England, it was a common sight, watching older people gardening. It may have seen as being slow in motion but studies have shown otherwise

Gardening and DIY 'can cut the risk of dying by 30%': Active hobbies reduce chance of a heart attack or stroke, a study from Scandinavia shows.

When people ask me about loosing weight, I give them my three rules one of which is:
Sit down to eat, do not stand up and eat, and preferably eat with friends or family.
Where as when it comes to fitness, the advice would be:
Do not sit in one position for too long! As our lifestyle and internet and international and social connections have so dramatically changed in the last few years, thanks to Sergei, Mark, Larry, Marissa and Susan! We spend an awful lot of time, sitting and staring at the screen.

It is recommended that sitting less than an hour at a time is safer than sitting for hours without a break.
It is recommended that you stand up for five minutes every hour or stand up a few seconds every few minutes, to be of benefit to your health.
What are the other beneficial things you can do around the house that can rev up your metabolism?
Watching TV takes up an enormous chunk of ones leisure time, and it is the least energy spending activity you can think of.

Considering sitting down to watch TV as equal to One MET, a measure of energy expenditure:
Ironing and Dusting, has MET scores of 1.3 and 1.5, nothing to brag about, except the cleanliness of your house, house-proud as we used to say in Australia.
Have you ever wondered why women who live in poorer countries are leaner and fitter? Their homes are not filled with energy saving devices. In fact we want energy spending devices, and the humble vacuum for one hour scores a MET of 3, which brings them to the moderate intensity activity. So does mopping!
A person doing mopping and vacuuming spends three times as much energy as the person who is just sitting!
Sexists among you may wish to know about more manly activities? Washing a car? Washing windows? Mowing lawn? Planting flowers?
Planting flowers racks up an impressive 3.4 MET, nearly 3 ½ times more energy than watching TV!
Why planting flowers? It involves upper body and that counts for more energy expenditure. At medical school we were taught that people with heart disease, get very tired when they try to comb their hair, because lifting the arms created a greater demand on the heart!
Mowing the lawn racks up an impressive 4.4 MET 9 I am sure it is the variety that one has to push and not just sit in a motorized vehicle!
(His descendants mostly sit whether in KL or Singapore!)

The Compendium of Physical Activities - first developed by Dr. Bill Haskell of Stanford University - gives MET values to a wide range of activities. Among them:
       Pulling a rickshaw - 6.3
       Playing the accordion - 1.8
       Serving food at Church - 2.5
       Tanning hides - 4.0
Now you see why the Rickshaw puller of Calcutta is healthy enough to avoid Gyms!
I wondered about serving Food at Church, perhaps it is because one is standing up as well as using the upper body.
So the average man or woman, can rack up nearly half of the minutes of rigorous activity, just doing what they are doing now!
How to get another 40 minutes of moderate activity to satisfy the CDC and your doctor!
If you prefer activities that are more intense, there is a range of things that, according to the Compendium of Physical Activities, you can do around the garden.
Vigorous activity means anything that rates over six METs, and to achieve that you would need to be "chopping wood and splitting logs" (6.3), "digging, spading, composting" (7.8), or "shovelling snow, by hand" (6.0).
According to the same source, the only domestic activity that falls into the vigorous range is "scrubbing floors and bathtub" (6.5); though "moving heavy furniture" (5.8) comes close.
If you prefer to fill your activity quotient by doing something more enjoyable than cleaning the loo, then dancing - "disco, folk, Irish, line dancing or country" - clocks up an impressive 7.8 METs.

But the easiest way to get the rest of the METs would be to walk SIX minutes per day, which clocks in at 3-4 MET depending upon how briskly you walk!
Just Six Minutes per day!
This regimen may not make you loose weight but certainly might keep you FIT!

The thought to write this came to me, after watching my sister on a quotidian basis. She is very busy fitting in her duties as a housewife, a mother, helping other people, cooking delicious Middle Eastern dishes. Despite her past medical history of cancer and its successful treatment, I would consider her fit!
I don't have a minute to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea, she would complain… and in fact, that is good, she does not have time to sit down, she is not in front of the TV or computer more than just few minutes while attending to emails or business!

(You can learn the above and much more if you listen to BBC, Trust Me, I am a Doctor with Michael Mosley!)
(Believe it or not, these San people of Kalahari are RESTING!)

Wanted to learn more about the benefits and how much benefit one derives from standing up most of the day rather than sitting, once again BBC News reported on the first such study ever conducted in UK:
With assistance from University of Chester. And I quote:

The Chester researchers took measurements on days when the volunteers stood, and when they sat around. When they looked at the data there were some striking differences. As we had hoped, blood glucose levels fell back to normal levels after a meal far more quickly on the days when the volunteers stood than when they sat.
There was also evidence, from the heart rate monitors that they were wearing, that by standing they were burning more calories.
"If we look at the heart rates," John Buckley explains, "we can see they are quite a lot higher actually - on average around 10 beats per minute higher and that makes a difference of about 0.7 of a calorie per minute."

Now that doesn't sound like much, but it adds up to about 50 calories an hour. If you stand for three hours a day for five days that's around 750 calories burnt. Over the course of a year it would add up to about 30,000 extra calories, or around 8lb of fat.
"If you want to put that into activity levels," Dr. Buckley says, "then that would be the equivalent of running about 10 marathons a year. Just by standing up three or four hours in your day at work."
Dr. Buckley thinks that although going out and doing exercise offers many proven benefits, our bodies also need the constant, almost imperceptible increase in muscle activity that standing provides. Simple movement helps us to keep our all-important blood sugar under control.
We can't all stand up at work but the researchers believe that even small adjustments, like standing while talking on the phone, going over to talk to a colleague rather than sending an email, or simply taking the stairs, will help.
So, don't sit down, except to eat, and if you have to sit down for long, get up often. Remember what they advise you on long distance flights. Get up and walk around.
I will keep that in mind when I fly DFW-HKG next month on my way to SIN and BLR.

Or like the Cubans in the island, keep fit while smiling, DANCE!

Remember, we used to refer to thin people who were thin as, people with high metabolic rate!