Tag Archives: Farnham


The following is an excerpt from the article Japan promotes seniors' healthy living with incentives to exercise, interact socially

"In Tokyo's Suginami ward, where Doi lives, authorities award points in the form of stickers to seniors who participate in government-approved activities ranging from picking up litter, to attending health and sporting events, to cultural activities. Each point has a value of 50 yen (64 cents) and can be exchanged for grocery coupons. The Suginami local government has allocated 80 million yen for the project this year, according to its website."

Financial incentiveIn the current economic climate I can't see our government offering financial incentives to exercise but I was wondering if you thought this was a good idea or not? Is a financial incentive something that would encourage you to do some/more exercise?
If the government provided a half hour of stretching and breathing exercises broadcast nationally on the radio daily (as Japan does) would this be something you would participate in?

Love to know your thoughts.

Image courtesy of -Marcus- / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


A study published recently in the Britsh Medical Journal has shown that integrating balance and strength exercises into daily life can significantly reduce the risk of a repeat fall. The study was conducted on people 70 years or older, living in the community and having two or more falls, or one injurious fall, in the past year.

There were 3 groups, a control group, a group engaged in structured exercise using weighted ankle cuffs and a group assigned a  Lifestyle integrated Functional Exercise (LiFE) programme designed by the University of Sydney. This programme  involved embedding balance and lower limb strength training into daily routines, such as walking, stepping over objects and moving from sitting to standing.

The study, conducted over a year,  found a significant (31%) reduction in the rate of falls for participants in the LiFE programme compared with the control group. The overall incidence of falls in the LiFE programme was 1.66 per person years, compared with 1.90 in the structured programme and 2.28 in the control group.  There was a non-significant reduction in the rate of falls for participants in the structured programme compared to the control group.

In New South Wales a report puts the amount of older adults doing strength training at less than 10%.  I was not able to find a  figure for the UK  but the fact is that only 8% currently go to the gym regularly  and only 17% of men and 12% of women in the 65-74 age bracket are reaching recommended levels of exercise a week (taken from the 204 Chief Medical Offices Report).

The 2011 Chief Medical Officers report, Start Active, Stay Active  gives the following recommendations for strength training:

  • Older adults should also undertake physical activity to improve muscle strength on at least two days a week.
  • Older adults at risk of falls should incorporate physical activity to improve balance and co-ordination on at least two days a week.

The study also suggested that exercise incorporated into every day life resulted to greater adherence to the  programme.

As well as helping reduce the risk of falls there are  many other benefits of strength training for older adults,

For more information about the report please click  here which will take you the the BMJ.

I run a small exercise group in Farnham in the beautiful Farnham Park which combines a brisk walk with strength training. It caters to all levels of fitness and it is always lovely to see new faces.

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

I didn't realise it was the 3rd May last time I posted! Muscle Monday is continuing but there was a bank holiday and then I went on holiday (fab time, thanks!).

Unlike the biceps or the chest muscles, this isn't seen as a very sexy muscle (not many photos of men flexing their wrists around)  but the wrist flexor (flexor carpui radialis) is very important as it allows the wrist to be flexed and therefore is in charge of all gripping movements and is also involved in any movement involving forward bending of the wrist. ...continue reading

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Today is World Health Day!

The topic of World Health Day in 2012 is Ageing and health with the theme "Good health adds life to years". Staying healthy amidst the busy lives we lead these days is becoming a bigger challenge for all of us, whatever our age, however as we age engaging in regular physical exercise will enable us to continue performing everyday tasks with ease. In addition to physical exercise both good food choices and mental wellbeing are important in the quest to remain healthy. ...continue reading


This post is going to talk me out of business but it was bought to my attention that not everyone is aware of what their GP can offer them in regards to support to increase physical activity.

The GP Exercise Referral scheme allows doctors and other health professionals to refer people who would benefit from an increased exposure to physical activity to a local leisure centre for a reduced price. ...continue reading

A study highlighted this week by Horizon on BBC2 has become a hot topic. During the programme some research showed that exercise time amounting to only a few minutes a week, can deliver many of the health and fitness benefits of hours of conventional exercise.

What a great headline that makes!

However what exactly is the truth behind that? The news that short bursts of very intense exercise can be good for our fitness is not really new news, a method called Tabata has been around since 1996 and is supposed to improve fitness with just 4 minutes 2-4 times a week.

This new(ish) method is called HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training and one of the studies can be found here: http://www.springerlink.com/content/h774562781l24jq0/

What follows are more thoughts on this as a stand-alone method of exercise rather than a critique of HIIT.

It's all very well saying 3 minutes but what about the warm-up? If you are about to perform high intensity exercise you need to ensure the body is warm first to prevent injury.Then you have the low intensity recovery periods. Finally after you have performed the exercise you need to cool down and stretch.

Some people are very busy and therefore maximum results for minimum time is always going to appeal but I would counter that the time you put aside to exercise isn't just about exercise. It's a perfect time to have a think about things, socialise or just get some fresh air. Making exercise part of your lifestyle means you are also more likely to continue doing it.

Doesn't take into account different levels of fitness
Not everyone will be able to use this method - personally I would only use it on someone used to exercise and as part of a programme with specific goals. This exercise routine could be dangerous to people with certain medical conditions.

If you are not enthusiastic about exercise then working at the level required without motivation might be quite difficult.

I know it's only a minute so theoretically you won't have time to get bored, even so the same exercise routine everyday?

Last but definitely not least:

The study shows you could see an increase in insulin sensitivity (therefore reduce the risk of diabetes) and aerobic capacity. However these are not the only measures of fitness. What about strength training or flexibility? Reducing the risk of diabetes, whilst important, doesn't make you 'fit'.

So you may think that I am not a huge fan of HIIT, but that isn't so. It has a place but that place is part of an exercise programme which also contains strength training and flexibility. It obviously does work for some people, and as part of a well rounded fitness programme could make a great addition. It's just not the magic bullet that everyone is looking for.

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

For more information on Personal Training please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. This will open a new browser window.