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The new fitness campaign starts here

Martin Roberts begins slowly and surely on his new regime

Yesterday, as I drove back down the M1 in intermittent showers, I was about to congratulate myself on what great progress I was making when, without warning, all vehicles going my way were diverted off the motorway. I soon learned from the radio that some accident or another had caused the police to close the M1 southbound between junctions 8 and 6. The net result was that my journey home, to that point slightly ahead of schedule, eventually took an hour and a half more than normal.

The slow road home gave me the opportunity to listen to Richard Bacon’s afternoon Radio Five Live show chat with Doctor Michael Mosley, co-author of a new book entitled Fast Exercise, some sort of follow-up or companion piece to The Fast Diet.

Mosley’s thrust was that new research in America had demonstrated that amazingly short bursts of intense physical activity, e.g. taking as little as one to three minutes, undertaken three or four times per week, were far more health beneficial than jogging five miles a day or spending all your waking hours in the gymnasium. The point was that the right form or exercise – i.e. that which suppressed the appetite – was a far better route to losing weight and then also keeping it off. Allegedly, the irony is that long distance runners often don’t lose weight at all after running. Long-form exercise tends to stimulate the appetite, and does so by inducing cravings for carbs and protein.

As it happens, I haven’t been to the gym, or taken any exercise to speak of, for about eight months. Furthermore, I put on five and a half pounds over the festive period. These two facts prompted me – like millions of others – to commit myself to a new regime of eating both less and better and taking exercise, with a view to eventually losing a minimum ten pounds … and keeping them off.

Inevitably, 1st January came and went without any change at all to my diet or exercise regimes. I was too busy eating the last of the festive mince pies, sides of ham and boxes of chocolate, but only because otherwise they might go to waste before their sell-by dates … and in this age of climate change, carbon emissions and general ecological bad practice, we wouldn’t want that, would we?

The Mosley suggestion, i.e. that even simply doing old-fashioned classic press-ups on the floor on your hotel room for a minute (any number over 40 completed in that time being regarded as a job well done) is all the daily exercise anyone needs ever take, sounded like manna from heaven to this listener. I felt sure that I could incorporate that into my new campaign without much problem.

Today, from the Daily Telegraph, we learn that researchers at the University of Quebec – who of course have conducted a detailed study of 20 heterosexual couples – have discovered that having sex can be at least as beneficial fitness-wise as going for a strenuous walk or jogging.

On average, men burn off 120 calories during intercourse, whilst women burn off about 90 – the equivalent of a game of doubles tennis, or a 15-minute jog.

During the study, the participants were tested whilst running for 30 minutes on a treadmill and then their results compared with those returned when they had intercourse.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 98% of both men and women reported that sex was highly enjoyable, and more highly-appreciated than the alternative of spending 30 minutes on a treadmill.

I know you couldn’t make this sort of thing up, but I think I’ll go to my bedroom now. I want to consider the implications of all this before having my 30-minute post-lunch nap.


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About Martin Roberts

A former motoring journalist, Martin lists amongst his greatest achievements giving up smoking. Three times. He holds to the view that growing old is not for the faint-hearted. More Posts