Monday, 5 March 2018

How to keep fit - documentary

First shown on BBC at the end of January 2018, this program features excellent small-group experiments and up-to-date research on exercise.


How fit am I?

squats test

stepping test

How to get / keep fit


High Intensity Interval Training
Exercise bike
     DIY home based equivalent

Preserving muscle mass


Mental Health and Exercise
     Runners high

What next?

How Fit Am I?

This is easy to test at home:

squats exercise to test fitness

how fit am I test type 1

Sit on a kitchen chair, and rise to standing, back to sitting position 10 times, as quickly as possible.

As a rule of thumb.

Under 35 years of age.
Men 10 seconds.      Women 12 seconds
target time for ten reps in fitness test

Under 55 years
Men 13 second .      women 15 second.

Over 55 years
Men 18 second.    Women 19 second.

how fit am I test type 2.

Stepping onto bottom step of the stairs, or similar height.
3 minutes stepping to test aerobic fitness

Step pattern is
Up left, up right, down left, down right,
Repeat for 3 minutes.

Take pulse after the exercise.

Under 35 years
Men 105.    Women 110

pulse target for age related fitness testUnder 55 years
Men 110 .   Women 115

Over 55 years
Men 115 women 120


Part 2 How to get / keep fit.

1. Walking

walking as excellent exercise for fitness

10,000 steps a day is a recognised route to fitness. Everything counts, even the naughty visit to the safe wherein the chocolate hides!

However, recent studies highlight the benefits of intensity. 3 times 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week is plenty. Fast enough to make singing very difficult.

2. HIIT High Intensity Interval Training

a. Exercise Bike

The most surprising example of this uses an exercise Bike
H.I.T. high intensity training on bike

3 times 40 SECONDS a week. That's 40 seconds Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for example. This has to be as strenuous as we can manage, and it depletes the glycogen from our LARGEST muscles, thighs and buttock, which respond by taking sugars from our blood, where it can contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart and circulatory illness.
scientific monitoring of aerobis exercise

The benefits are similar to spending 45 minutes running.

The same results can be achieved without an exercise bike, indeed with no equipment at all.

b. DIY FIT exercise at home

2 minutes gentle warm up,
1 minute star jumps,
star jumps exercise, DIY F.I.T. exercise at home

1 minute squats,
1 minute running on the spot

1 minute squats,
1 minute star jumps.

Brief rests are okay between each stage.

3. Muscle mass

As we get older, muscle mass decreases, which can led to all sorts of problems, some obvious, some not.
muscle mass sustained by weight training

The remedy is simple. Weight training:
weight training to preserve/recover muscle mass

3 sets of each exercise, twice as week.
Even when we are resting, muscles take sugars from our blood with the health benefits mentioned earlier.

An earlier documentary from BBC showed the energy used in each member of a family over 2 hours. The woman doing housework used more then the young adult who spent 20 minutes on a bike.

The 14 stone, muscular man who lay on the couch used most.

This I not an advertisement for the couch.

4. Motivation.

The experiments showed that willpower is fragile for most people.
The gym is soon skipped if the chocolate biscuits are waiting at home... So sleep them in the locker at the gym.

Exercise will be regular if its at a pleasant, convenient, companionable venue. The venue, which can be home, could contain rewards.
stress on knees while walking or running

Running, and energetic walking, puts some stress on the knee and hips joints, but this can stimulate blood flow into the cartilage, which speeds up repair. Runners are less likely to get arthritis as they age.

Overall, the most rewarding and enjoyable aspect of exercise is the variety.

5. Mental health and exercise.

endocannabinoids synthesised in human brain, more-so with lengthy exercise

Lengthy bouts of aerobic exercise produce a euphoric state known as Runners High.
Both endorphins and endocannabinoids are synthesised in the brain.

Dance is very good exercise, especially for the brain
a. Short term memory
b. Balance.
Both of these faculties need preserving as we age, particularly as longevity becomes more common.
Dancing as best exercise for fitness, all-round health

Spatial awareness, rhythm and music are all providing a pleasant workout for our brain when we dance.

End of documentary.

6. What Next could we try?

The activities commonly described  as anti aging do not seem to mention balance and reflexes.

Roller skating, mild gymnastics, and a reflex workout like an arcade or racing game. Not advised for addictive personalities!

aerobic fitness charts showing benefit of exercise

tags: exercise, wellbeing, hearthealth, weighttraining, FIIT, fitness, motivation, popular science


  1. #exercise for #longevity - using #weights to maintain / rebuild #muscle mass.
    Especially important in an #aging population, with MANY #health benefits

  2. It's very hard to stick with an exercise program. I've attempted many..many...many...many of them. I've settled with gardening being my exercise. Something i enjoy.

  3. variety helps us to #exercise regularly. #gardening is good, but also #walking - less restricted by bad weather!

  4. exercise for Sunday afternoon - lying on the front room carpet or rug!

    yoga, pilates, singing (really).

    "No gain without pain" is macho codswallop, though the gentler trout-tickling sounds more suitable for a sunny Sunday.

    yoga aids and sustains flexibility and relaxation.

    pilates is very good for building and maintaining core strength - ideal for those of us with several decades worth of injuries (!),

    singing is excellent for mood, breathing, stamina ...

    exercise motivation

  5. pilates on the mat sounds like a good idea for Monday morning too :)

  6. The 'Squats test' can be an alternative form of F.I.I.T (Full Intensity Interval Training) provided we work up to being fairly comfortable with 40 seconds non-stop squats.

    What is your favourite F.I.I.T alternative?

    Exercise for healthy longevity

  7. pilates in the morning, yoga in the evening,

    just keep moving :)


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