Archive for February, 2012

New Ideas on Fitness and Health

I was very impressed with Michael Mosely’s Horizon programme (BBC 2 -Feb.28th) on new approaches to fitness, and I recommend you to view it on the BBC iplayer. Here is a review of the show: from the Daily Telegraph.

The most radical technique Mosely discovered was the HIT programme, standing for High Intensity Training. The scientist behind this theory and technique claims that by doing only three bursts of 20 seconds maximum intensity training, interrupted by two short periods to regain your breath, you can improve cardio-vascular fitness and insulin activity. These three bursts only need to be done 3 times a week. Mosely did this technique for just a month and he showed improvement in the insulin take-up but less improvement in cardio. However, six months seems to be the recommended period, so one assumes that Mosely’s cardio would also have improved if he had done the work for longer.

Mosely did his 20 second bursts on an exercise bike, but for those who don’t own one, or do not attend a gym, there is a chi kung stance which can be used for this activity.

The stance is called Wu Chi, and this is how Master Lam Kam Chuen describes it: Stand with your feet a shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward, feet parallel. Let your hands hang loosely by your sides, and drop your shoulders. Imagine that, like a puppet, your whole body is hanging, suspended from your head. A string holds your head from a point at the top of your skull, directly in line with the tips of your ears. Feel yourself sinking down, relaxing, as you hang from the string. Unlock your knees, look forward with ‘soft’ eyes.

The wu chi posture is shown above.

In this position, while keeping the soles of your feet on the ground,  it is possible to do a strong,  fierce shaking of the body, arms and legs, bouncing energetically on the spot. If you are used to exercise, and are fit, then this stance can be used for the 20 second bursts of High Intensity Training. However if you are not used to exercise, or have any problems with your knees, you would be wise to start more gently and work your way up to the really powerful bouncing and shaking that is needed. I did this HIT training for the first time today, and I feel that I could have added more intensity to the training, so I will push myself a little more next time I do this.

Besides the HIT training, the show also demonstrated that long bouts of walking or daily excercise helps to reduce the fat levels in the blood, which is also a key part of maintaining health.

February 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm Leave a comment

The Blog That Fell From The Sky

Reflections on an age of anxiety.