Reduce your Risk - Dr Michael MoselyPublished 20/10/2014
Last week, at my place of work, we were lucky to have Dr Michael Mosely as a guest speaker during the 'Reduce your risk day' of 'Wellbeing Week'.

Here is a summary of the presentation he gave (words from posted article):

"I'm really pleased that you have this initiative going on because I'm a huge fan of health," said Michael, who's made numerous science and history documentaries for the BBC, both behind and in front of the camera. Most recently, Michael's become well known for self-experimenting as he's investigated exercise and diet in his BBC programmes The Truth About Exercise and Eat, Fast, Live Longer.

The motivation, he said, was wanting to avoid the fate of his father who died aged 73 with diabetes, early signs of dementia and prostate cancer. "I don't want to live forever but what I do want is to remain fitter for that period," Michael explained, "The main thing that should drive you is that you want to be in good shape. What you are doing today is so critical and why it means so much that you start to embrace these changes."

Michael drew on the findings of scientists and researchers across the globe to present his four simple truths:

1: Moderate exercise will not lead to weight loss. "There are lots of reasons for doing exercise but weight loss is not one of them - you have to do something else aswell," he said. Most of us massively under-estimate how much exercise we need to do to burn off calories (you'd have to run two miles to burn off a banana and 12 miles for a muffin) and we often succumb to "compensatory eating and relaxing". Exercise needs to be combined with calorie restriction for weight loss.  

2: Exercise needs to be intense. Do three, three-minute sessions of high intensity training (HIT) a week. Not everyone will improve their aerobic fitness (the best predictor of future longevity) but intense exercise has a major impact on insulin sensitivity and reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease. HIT training increased Michael's insulin sensitivity by 25 per cent.

3: You need to do resistance training to build muscle. Four minutes of a combination of 12 strength exercises, including press-ups and squats, three times a week is ideal. 

4: Being sedentary kills. Continual sitting (for four to five hours at a time) doubles the risk of death in the next three years. Get up and stretch every 30 minutes. Always take the stairs. Buy a pedometer and try to do 10,000 steps a day. "Just sitting down for long periods of time is fantastically bad for us," said Michael. "Stand for two minutes every half an hour. Walking is a fantastic thing to do in your lunch break."

Michael was also realistic about the challenge. "Some people say it's easy - all you have to do is eat less and exercise more - it's really simple. That would be a brilliant piece of advice if we were not human," he said. "What I have talked about are short-cuts. Although they are effective and they work better, do not under-estimate the challenge."


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