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Do You Need To Do Weight Training Too! Maybe Not!


According to present guidelines put out by 'The World Health Organization' thirty minutes of gentle exercise each day should be enough to sustain a minimum level of fitness.

Members of the "American College of Sports Medicine" are concerned however that the official advice to do thirty minutes of gentle exercise each day is not being properly understood or being implemented correctly. "To be healthy, you really do need to break into a sweat when you exercise", say their experts and add that many people appear to believe that a 15 minute walk to the off license to pick up a 6 pack of beer means that they are getting enough exercise.

"People should do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise, like jogging, three days a week", they say.

Researchers at Queen's University, Belfast, recently stated that walking for half an hour, three days a week gave similar fitness and blood pressure benefits as walking for thirty minutes five times a week.

However the sports scientists say that this advice is misleading and might encourage people to do too little exercise. "There are people who have not accepted and others who have misinterpreted the original recommendation. Some people continue to believe that only vigorous intensity activity will improve health while others believe that the light activities of their daily lives are sufficient to promote health".

The authors of the report include several experts who are on a high level committee in the U.S. and their original recommendations in 1995 were quickly adopted by the WHO and by the U.K. government in 1996. They now stress that in addition to their regular exercise activities which might be casual walking or housework adults need to add something such as vigorous jogging and/or a moderate aerobic exercise like a brisk walk in addition to twice weekly activities such as weight training which will maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance.

They say that people can do short periods of exercise that will count towards their weekly goals but say that these must last for at least 10 minutes and suggest that even more exercise than this might have even greater benefits.

It might be worth noting however that a lot of previous research has shown that too much exercise can be damaging to the body.

Professor Paul Gately who is professor of exercise and obesity at 'Leeds Metropolitan University' told 'The Guardian' that it is difficult to give any kind of "one size fits all" advice. "People who are very overweight would have to do an hour of exercise a day just to maintain their weight if they aren't going to change their diets," he said.

Dr David Haslam of the 'National Obesity Forum' questioned whether it was realistic to expect people to do two weight training sessions a week. "I'd rather see healthy habits built into daily life and gyms aren't a sustainable habit for all," he said.

A spokesman for the 'Department of Health' said it was watching the developments but added there were no plans to change its current advice.