For most people, losing weight is the number one reason to start exercise.
It’s as good a reason as any to get more active, especially as it usually comes hand in hand with improving over-
all physical and mental health.
Unfortunately, terms like ‘vigorous exercise’ are used a lot in the fitness world to describe the intensity level of a workout and it’s often words like these which spook a would-be trainee.
So I want to put your minds at rest. While ‘vigorous’ workouts are definitely a good way of raising your fitness levels quickly, they aren’t essential for someone who’s looking to push off some pounds.
It’s far more important to focus on consistent and frequent physical activity.
That means more actual physical movement each day, not just going for a run twice a week.
Regular exercise was never a common recommendation by doctors before the 20th and 21st centuries.
That’s not because it wasn’t important.
It was because, unless you were lucky enough to have a butler, your life would be full of physical activities which were essential.
Working, cleaning, travelling and cooking were all things which were far more physically demanding than they are today.
A lot of these things may even be classed as vigorous exercise these days.
The life of technological convenience we now live in has leapt upon us far more quickly than our slowly evolving human bodies, adapted to high physical demand, can keep up with.
It is far too easy now to spoil our cleverly-designed survival systems.
They were built to store as much energy as possible, because food was not as easy to come by back then and most people had to work harder for it.
Now we have very different, and more sedentary, lifestyles, but our bodies have yet to adapt.
The result? Hugely proportioned fat cells.
The price of neglecting physical activity and/or overeating is a steeper one. than many think.
Various surveys supported by the NHS predict approximately half of the adult population will be obese by 2030 if the current trends in lifestyles continue.
That’s a scary figure.
It represents half the country with a serious health condition that multiplies the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease or suffering from a stroke.
So that’s potentially half of the population classed as obese by 2030 and that figure does not include those simply ‘overweight’.
These predictions made it sound like the desired-by-most slimmer and more defined body shapes will be even more of a rarity.
Who actually looks like this?
On the topic of body shapes, I think it’s interesting that, despite the increasing levels of obesity in the UK, the fascination with more sculpted physiques is on the rise.
I imagine the Olympics played a part in this, with the body shapes from thick and well-built to lean and firm which were on display.
We all recognise the results of years of athletic training when we see it, but alongside the common use of almost artfully-designed (and sometimes edited) models in every other advert and magazine, it’s almost easy to believe these people are an accurate representation of the way most people look.
And when you’re spending hours each week training to get fit and in shape, you might despair at how much more effort it will actually take to get you to match that level of ripped physique.
If you stop and think about it though, when was the last time you saw someone
like that walking up the precinct?