FEEL THE DIFFERENCE: Squat challenge and rate your fitness


By now you will know that to improve your basic level of fitness and well being you should be eating a healthy breakfast and taking regular walks of at least 30 minutes every day. To improve posture you will know that you should be standing correctly with your shoulders and hips level even if it does feel a little uncomfortable at the moment.

Many people consider a round of golf, a dog walk or gardening to be exercise. However, you still need to be working to a steady level of sustained effort for at least 30 minutes.

If you are not giving yourself that minimum effort level score of 6 you should consider changing your perception of exercise. Let’s call the latter ‘activity’ rather than exercise. Should you stop playing golf, walking the dog or gardening? Absolutely NOT! It may not be ‘exercise’ but it is activity so don’t give it up.

When walking or performing any sustained activity you should be able to define your 
level of exercise by using 
my simple 1 – 10 scale. A good walk, cycle ride or swim will elevate your heart rate sufficiently to make you breathless 
and hot. Aim for the score level of 6 or 7 for beginners and 7 to 9 for seasoned exercises. The trick to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is to eat regular healthy meals, exercise and remain active.

Recent studies have been released (British Medical Journal) informing us that exercise is not just good for us, but can even take the place of traditional medicine in some cases. Some of the conditions highlighted include Stroke, Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) rehabilitation and diabetes prevention. Obviously you should seek the advice of your GP or specialist doctor and shouldn’t just give up the medication, but this very interesting paper does highlight the importance of exercise and physical activity.

Physical exercise has well documented health benefits, but interestingly, those who are more active also visit hospital less frequently.

Here are some more interesting facts for you: Did you know that inactivity has been ranked as the fifth leading cause of disease burden in western Europe, and as one of the top modifiable risk factors along with smoking. In simple terms, if you are a smoker you can 
reduce your chances of suffering disease by giving up and if you are a non-exerciser you can reduce your chances of suffering disease by taking up exercise. It’s hardly rocket science is it?

We know it is a reality and yet many of us still don’t take enough exercise. I wouldn’t expect a beginner to run a marathon or 
play a full game of football without suffering the 
risk of pain and injury, 
but using my 1-10 scale you can gauge for yourself 
how hard your exercise is. So, what have you done to “Feel The Difference” today?

Let’s finish with some challenges: Those who are not used to regular exercise should find something you enjoy and start doing it this week – preferably with a friend or family member for support and encouragement.

Exercises: Are you ready? Our challenge is to perform 1,000 squats during the week. Beginners should use a dining chair to sit and stand up from. Follow me on twitter @MandarinFitness and Facebook (Martin Thomas) to plot my progress starting on Wednesday. I shall use the twitter tag #SquatsChallenge1