Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The need to be active

I've said that I am writing a series of articles on fitness for a UK hillwalking / backpacing magazine - TGO

I am picking up on some of the things that I've covered here over the years, looking at fitness for the hills in terms of:

  • conditioning - intervals / sprints to improve VO2 max etc
  • strength - the importance of absolute strength
  • skill - i.e. how you walk
I'm also picking up on things like posture

I'm working on a piece now which is looking at the dangers of sitting.  I've posted some links before on this - e.g. this great infographic One of the ideas is that sitting has profound effects on your posture and structure which does not leave you in a fit state to walk.  You are too tight in the wrong places, so we need to address the impact with corrective exercises - glute activation for example and stretching the hip flexors -  and the cause by avoiding so much sitting.

Anyway, the other thing that is relevant is how inactive we are.  Hunter-gatherers - paleo man / Grok etc - was very active.  This paper says that

A large amount of background daily light-to-moderate activity such as walking was required. Although the distances covered would have varied widely, most estimates indicate average daily distances covered were in the range of 6 to 16 km.

How many of us are that active now?  This is no hard exercise - there was that too - but jsut general movement as part of life.

A new study indicates that even regular exercise doesn't help if you spend the rest of your time sat on your fat arse. 

"If people spend the majority of their time sitting, even with regular periods of exercise, they are still at greater risk for chronic diseases," Thyfault said. "If people can add some regular movement into their routines throughout the day, they will feel better and be less susceptible to health problems. In the long term, they may not see big changes in the mirror, but they will prevent further weight gain."

Clarence Bass actually raised similar ideas a couple of years ago - Too Much Sitting Is Risky—Even for People Who Train

For me it is all about lots and lots of easy walking - staying aerobic - plus some occaisional sprints and resistance training.  On top of that, some corrective exercise - stretches, glute activation etc. 

Actually probably not far from Mark Sisson's prescription or that of Art Devany or Taleb.

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