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Is exercise good for you?


The straight forward, immediate answer is always YES! The benefits of a regular regime of exercise are so numerous it’s barely even worth considering the flip side.  But a recent report in the Saturday Telegraph raised a good point. 

Exercise is always good for you…but some types are better than others.  In the Telegraph, Gorav Datta from the Orthopaedic department in Southampton General Hospital points out that the current popularity of High Intensity Impact Training (HIIT) is wrecking people’s joints, leading to hip and knee injuries more commonly associated with the older population than with the 30-someethings now experiencing them.  He claims that the career-minded, time-pressured young workers are turning to workouts lasting around 10-20mins, creating huge bursts of activity for maximum benefit in the shortest amount of time.

While some of the other points raised in the article (blaming personal trainers, for example) I think are highly questionable, it’s true that you have to be sensible about how your exercise, not just plough in without proper preparation, and also choose a form of exercise that is suitable for you.  For example, I bet that most people would struggle to keep up a flat-out rate of swimming for 10 mins, and that puts no pressure at all on your hips and knees, while giving you an excellent cardio workout. Of course, it is pretty hard on your shoulders, so you need to be careful about that aspect.

So what’s the answer if you genuinely can’t find 30-60 mins 3-5 times a week, but also don’t want to end up crippled by the time you are 40? Well, I would say…Variety! Think about it – if each form of exercise puts undue stress on certain joints, then mixing up which exercise you are doing will spread the wear around and you won’t end up with an awesome upper body and knees that creak and crack at every tiny movement.  Swim one day, go on a cross trainer another day, and maybe throw in the odd session on an indoor rower another day.

Remember, you only need to do 30mins of moderate (with an emphasis on the moderate!) exercise 3-5 times a week.  Most of those really pushing themselves to do more - and thereby putting their musculoskeletal health at risk - are doing it more so that they can maintain a healthy weight and an attractive figure; sorry to break it to you (again) folks, but the best weight management is to eat sensible quantities of healthy foods.  In other words, grabbing a caramel latte on the way to the office, doing a 20 min HIIT session before grabbing a Subway or Pret in your lunch break and then getting a pizza in the evening because you don’t have time to cook is a perfect cocktail for high blood pressure, cholesterol through the roof, waistline pouching out and knees and hips that cause you so much trouble they have to be replaced well before time.

Seriously – exercise is worth it, with more benefits than I can enumerate in this short article, and done properly (especially with the guidance of a properly qualified personal trainer) it will give you the rewards you have read about.  But start it slowly, be realistic and remember diet has an equal if not greater role to play in keeping you looking fab!


(and yes - the thumbnail for this article proves I CAN be girly and occasionally watch chick-flicks, in case you were wondering.  love that quote!)

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