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Did you watch The Truth About Obesity?

We were foraging for string this afternoon in the office

Why? Well to do the string test of course!

Watching ‘The Truth About Obesity’ on BBC 1 last night. Did you watch it? If not we’d really recommend it. The research covered in the programme confirmed some things you may already suspect:

  • It is easier for some of us to maintain and lose weight
  • It is easier for some of us to put on weight
  • BMI measurement might not be the best test of health risks (enter the string test!)

It also busted a few myths, most notably:

  • The myth that going to the gym is better than just moving more

So why do the string test?

BMI is often used to measure the risk associated with our weight in terms of diabetes, heart disease and blood pressure. But this falls down on where our excess fat is distributed.

Where we carry excess weight is crucial in determining how it may be affecting our health. Internal visceral fat around our organs, so our middle, is the most dangerous. According to the programme the string test is an easy way to identify whether your height tell if you are at risk.

Hence our rummaging for string today!

Here’s how you do it:

  1. With a partner, measure from your heel to the top of your head with string
  2. Cut it to this length
  3. Fold in half
  4. Wrap the folded string around you waist
  5. Does it meet? If not, it is likely that excess visceral fat is likely to be putting your health at risk.

Walking vs gym for weight loss

And what of the exercise revelations?

The programme measured calories burnt by two women over the course of two days during which different approaches to exercise were taken. The goal being to illustrate what research into the effects of different types of activity on weight loss for different types of people.

This comes up at around 46 minutes into the programme which is still available to view on BBC iPlayer.

On the first day they worked hard at the gym and then were relatively inactive for the rest of the day. Rather like many of us who sit at our computers all day and then go to the gym and home to watch TV or go to sleep.

On the second day they were asked to be more active. They walked or cycled to work. Walked to the local shops to buy food for supper, did some housework or gardening on coming home.

The result? For one person the calories burnt on the active day were the same as the gym day – not a bad result. For the other the results were staggering. Despite believing that she would burn more after her intensive workout at the gym she actually burned twice as many calories than at the gym, 500 in total, just by being more active!

We’re sure you’ll agree that 500 calories a day would have a big effect! What this programme underlined for us (as we staggered around the office wrapped in string) was that you DON’T need to bust a gut in the gym to improve your health. Just building more activity into your day can help you burn calories and keep in shape.

We know it works

Jeanette, for example, lost 12lbs through walking to work and getting more active throughout her day. 

Next week is May and May is National Walking month

Leaving the car at home and walking to the shop, into the town centre or to get public transport are all great ways to burn calories (as evidenced in this programme).

This weekend, in addition to getting the string out why not take a look at our walking pages for more routes, tips and inspiration and plan how you can be more active in your everyday during May.

By Nicky at 27 Apr 2018, 16:33 PM


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