Marylebone Health (CHHP)

Dr Mike Loosemore: Stand up for 3 hours a day for benefits of ten marathons

Dr Mike Loosemore: Stand up for 3 hours a day for benefits of ten marathons

Sedentary behaviour sat in front of a computer or television is damaging our health

Working standing up for just three hours a day has the same health benefits as doing ten marathons a year, a top sports medic has claimed as he criticised government exercise guidelines for putting people off by being too demanding.
Dr Mike Loosemore, a leading sport medicine consultant, said people should be encouraged to do more low level exercise and make minor lifestyle changes such as standing up more often.
He claimed that being on your feet for three hours, five days a week, is as effective as running ten marathons a year and can extend life by two years.The head of exercise medicine at the Institute of Sport Exercise and Health at University College London, warned that 28 per cent of the UK population now do less than 30 minutes of exercise each week. But he claimed the government guidelines, which advise people to do 30 minutes of ‘moderate’ exercise five days a week, discourage people from becoming active by setting targets which appear too daunting.

Writing for the BBC’s Scrubbing Up, he said: “There is an overwhelming weight of evidence that humans need to be active. “And I’m not talking about hours in the gym or jogging miles around the local park, but simply avoiding the sort of sedentary behaviour that sees us spending hours of our day sat in front of a computer, at the wheel of car or watching the gogglebox … It’s time to stand up for yourself. Literally… There is now enormous evidence that simply standing makes huge differences to your health.”

Dr Loosemore, who was chief medical officer for England at the 2010 Commonwealth games, insists that small lifestyle changes to incorporate low-level exercise can transform lives with active people cutting their risk of heart disease by 40 per cent. High blood pressure and the risk of breast cancer can be almost halved while the risk of colon cancer is reduced by more than 60 per cent by taking moderate exercise, he revealed. He also claimed exercise could ease depression as effectively as Prozac and professional behavioural therapy and ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
“If you are feeling unfit or fat, or too over the hill to walk up even a small one, it’s time to think again,” he said.
“Low-level activity, even regularly getting off your seat, can change your life forever.”
He added: “Activity is not only more powerful than drugs for most conditions, but can act as a cure-all.”

But Dr Loosemore warned that government targets may be actively putting people off trying to change their habits with just seven per cent of men and four per cent of women adhering to them.
He said: “It is perhaps not surprising that the UK has one of the highest levels of obesity in the world.
“Every action, even a single step on a stair or standing up for a few seconds, can put you on a positive path to better health … So the governments’ recommendations are not just failing to encourage the population to increase their physical activity, but are seemingly acting as a positive disincentive to people to participate at all … For many of the population, 30 minutes of moderate activity is deemed impractical or unobtainable, so the idea that being more physical to improve long-term health is ignored or dismissed … Most of us do not have the time, energy or inclination to make the effort, so the recommendations are not just failing to engage the population, but are positively discouraging people to participate at all.”

He urged the government to make efforts to teach people how even a small amount of activity can help improve their health.

Read the full article from The Telegraph

The Telegraph, Stand up three hours a day for benefits of ten marathons, says top medic [ Miranda Prynne | 20 June 2014].