At Technogym we are honoured to have Dr John Searle, OBE as our guest blogger today. Awarded the OBE in 1998 for services to medicine and the Hospice Movement, Dr Searle is one of the most prominent personalities in health and medicine in the UK.
Dr Searle began his career in the NHS where he worked as a consultant anaesthetist and intensive care consultant at both local and national levels for 25 years. A qualified personal trainer and fitness instructor, he served from 2009 to 2011 as the Chief Medical Officer of the Fitness Industry Association (FIA) before stepping down for personal reasons. Dr Searle is a strong advocate of the principle Exercise is Medicine.
“Do you want to get fit in four weeks, pack in muscle, look like the stars, lose weight fast, get a six pack, feel great, have loads of energy? Then this is the workout for you!”
In recent years there has been a plethora of programmes, many claiming to be more effective more quickly than anything before it. So what are we to make of such things as high intensity interval training, boot camps, functional training, body weight training, the latest bit of multidirectional aerobic exercise equipment and whatever else will be marketed this year?
Here are a few pointers which I have found helpful both for clients and my own training programmes.
1. I welcome these developments because they indicate that the health and fitness sector continues to look for ways to enable people to get fit through a variety of programmes. You may have a particular goal and the right programme can really help achieve that. A 40-year-old man came to see me who was going on a sailing holiday in a few months with some younger mates. He wanted to do his fair share of work on the boat and to be able to keep up with them. So we built up to a high intensity circuit programme over thee months and he ended up having a fantastic holiday.
2 Why not try some of them? Our bodies need new challenges to improve and maintain fitness levels. It is all too common for us to be doing the same exercise programme that we were doing five years ago! But be sceptical too as these programmes may not have been subjected to rigorous scientific evaluation and in the long term may not offer greater benefits than more traditional programmes.
3. Always start with moderate intensity and duration and progress towards a higher intensity and for longer. Andrew Marr is a good lesson; he had a stroke when he embarked on very high intensity short aerobic training when he was not fit enough to do it.
4 Exercise is for life, not just while a particular programme is fashionable. New schemes come and go but we need to find ways to exercise year in and year out.
5 It is vital that we train all the components of fitness. We need to have strong hearts, lungs and muscles that can sustain long periods of physical activity. Flexibility is vital for our health, as well as balance, coordination and agility. A programme will often focus on one or two of these, but good health requires that all these components are addressed.
6 The intensity and duration of exercise are important too. The harder we work, the fitter we become and the lower the risk of many illnesses such as heart attacks and strokes.
In summary new techniques, trends and ways of exercising can be very helpful in increasing our fitness levels and achieving particular goals. But they must always be carried out in the context of regular exercise which works all the components of fitness to keep us fit and healthy for life.
Dr John Searle
2 February 2014
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