3 minutes a week exercise? No way!

Have we got the daily exercise thing wrong? What if it only took 12 minutes a month?
Or a minute three times a week? Would exercise be more appealing to you? It certainly is to me.

Recently I watched an SBS documentary by Michael (sorry I can’t remember his last name) on exercise, glucose levels, fat reduction and so on. I’m here to tell you it was brilliant and if you can download it and watch it, I would thoroughly recommend it. Actually, it’s imperative that you do because my memory is not as good as it used to be, and I think I have some of the stats wrong.

Right now, I’m on Christmas Island and doubt I can download or watch his doco again anytime soon. So do  it for me please, okay?

Does exercise need to be tailored to you?

Not everyone responds to exercise in the same way. We all knew that, right? And did you know that some people are what are called non-responders? They produce no response to regular exercise in regards to muscle tone or weight loss, and some people are what are called super-responders! Super-responders are those who lose weight, take shape, muscle up and so on. And, here’s the kicker: we are genetically primed. Some of you are shaking your head and saying, “I knew it, I knew there was a reason nothing happened” so now you can stop beating yourself up for being lazy or unmotivated or even a wuss.

Your Wise Subconscious

Perhaps your subconscious with its innate wisdom knew that exercise in its conventional form of visiting a gym or doing boot-camps for 45 minutes to an hour every day or every second day, was not the right pathway for the non-responder inside. I know that mine screamed at me from the second session of boot-camp and within about 10 days my knees started to give. Ridiculously, I kept pushing on. Endorphin wise, I think regular daily exercise is good for you…

The next point was that long walks before you eat help you to use up the fats and sugars. The doco narrator (and he was very active in testing theories) had everything monitored with blood tests and found that a 90 minute walk the night before a big English breakfast, resulted in about 20% less fat in the bloodstream after his breakfast.

Need some motivation for those walks?

Another very interesting fact: you only need 12 minutes of exercise a month to reduce glucose production, increase oxygen levels and burn fats!

KEEP READING PLEASE, there are provisos and be sure to check with your doctor first.

Okay, here’s the skinny on exercising 3 minutes a week

You go flat out at the absolute highest intensity you can do for 20 seconds then take a breather, then 20 seconds at the highest intensity possible, then a breather and then a final 20 seconds again at the highest intensity you can do. Michael did this three times a week for one month and was astonished to find that he had effected a 15% reduction in glucose levels. Now if we don’t burn off glucose it goes into the cells and is stored as fats called glycogen.

Does everyone respond to exercise?

The researchers he worked with maintain that this is all anyone needs. They were also able to predict that he was a non-responder, through genetic markers and they were right.

The proviso is that someone with heart problems or lung problems or serious illness may not be able to do the high intensity workouts. Michael used a stationary cycle, and I gave it a go while swimming in the sea and found that it felt really good to push myself as hard and fast as I could.


Not-Exercise Exercise

One more thing I learnt was that by getting off your bottom you might be able to burn off a significant number of kilojoules. Not rocket science really. Reduce your calories in, and increase your incidental physical movement and you have to use up more calories by the end of the day.

Look here for help with Personal Fitness to exercise

Michael was surprised to learn that he was much more sedentary than he realised, meaning he sat on his bottom a lot more than he thought he would. You should have seen the funny lycra shorts he wore with built-in sensors and strategically placed holes for doing the necessary!

By getting on a push-bike instead of taking the car, standing up more, using the stairs, even for instance while taking or making a phone call do it standing up, he managed to burn 500 more calories than he had the day before. This was called NEET but I can’t remember fully what the acronym stands for and I’m not sure if I spelt that correctly either!  It stood for “Not-exercise something or other”.  Michael didn’t increase exercise he simply decreased the time spent sitting on his bottom.

So in summary, I think it is still important and remember that this is only my opinion, to exercise daily simply because you also produce endorphins the happy hormones. What you can do is find physical movement that you like to do.

I’m not a gym person really. I can’t think how many gym memberships I have wasted over the years. Fitness First was pretty good because I did all the other classes instead. And you still need to be careful and listen to your body.

I enjoy being outdoors and am finding that as long as I swim while I snorkel then I am using my muscles instead of just lying there floating on the surface over the reef and oohing and aahing over the gorgeous reef fish and marine life here on Christmas Island.

[Oh my Goodness, the fish are within 3 metres of the beach and the boat ramp! It’s magnificent! And the whale sharks have just arrived. They aren’t actually right into the shore but are causing a huge and delighted reaction from everyone who goes a couple of kilometres out to see them. One fellow was telling me that he’s lived here for 14 years and it is only the second time that they have come in. Sorry, I digress.]

I also feel great while I eat a piece of cake because I have been snorkelling. I love to dance so that doesn’t feel like exercise either. I enjoy yoga too. Funny thing is that when I had PT sessions or went to the gym, I hated doing more than 45 minutes at a time. Well, maybe hate is too strong a word. I certainly didn’t like programs that had me there for 60 minutes and I was happy enough to be there for 45, but had to flog myself for 60. Maybe my subconscious was really letting me know that it was unnecessary for me because I’ve never been one to build up much muscle at all. (Umm, apologies to my kids. That’s probably why you don’t either.)

Find something you like doing that your body (and therefore your subconscious) says “Oh I like this, this feels good” and if your doctor okays the high intensity reps in 20 second bursts for a minute with rests in between, then give it your best shot. At least those who are non-responders can now stop flogging themself mentally and physically and do something more enjoyable. How’s that for changing those negative thoughts to positive ones of self-praise and encouragement to do what you like?

Oh, and if you are one of those “super-responders” all I can say is “Good for you with your lucky genes”.

At SBS you can download the doco titled: The Truth About Exercise and it aired Tuesday 11/12/2012

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