Anne Diamond on the conflicting advice from fitness experts

PUBLISHED: 11:03 20 October 2014 | UPDATED: 11:03 20 October 2014

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto


There are a lot of ‘experts’ offering supposedly wise words on what we need to do to keep fit, but just how much time should we spend on this, Anne wonders

Don’t you get fed up with conflicting advice?

Years ago, I remember interviewing a fitness trainer from the USA, called Jorge Cruise, who advocated doing just eight minutes of exercise a day. If it’s the right sort of stuff, he said, it can transform your body at the price of getting up just ten minutes earlier in the morning. (His book was called Eight Minutes in the Morning and I’ve just downloaded it and read it through again cos, 25 years later, I reckon I need it!

We’re told we are fast becoming a nation of couch potatoes, so we really do need to find the “easy” key to fitness - but whose advice are you supposed to take? Not all of us want, nor have the time or inclination, to spend a duly hour in the gym, or go running round the roads of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, getting all hot and sweaty.

Well, this summer, researchers in Scotland told us that just six seconds of vigorous exercise (building up to one minute eventually) was enough to transform the health, particularly of pensioners. Their evidence suggested that running for a long time put a greater strain on the heart than going all out for several six second bursts. (But always check with your doctor first, please!) Meanwhile other experts tell us we should be doing at least an hour every day of something breathless and sweat-inducing. I worry that all of this overload of conflicting advice is actually turning many of us off the whole idea of getting fit, and giving us a giant excuse to lie on the couch, gin and tonic in hand, and wait for the experts to agree. Meanwhile, I’ll give another go to setting my alarm clock eight minutes earlier. Watch this space.

Don’t forget the Sunday joint! - What absolute essential did you take on holiday with you?

For me, it’s lots of tubes of my favourite moisturiser and a jar of Gold Blend. It seems that thousands of us won’t go abroad without taking at least an emergency ration of our favourite foods. I remember when my kids were small, I always took Cornflakes and chocolate (because they’re simply not the same anywhere else in the world).

Once, when my extended family were planning a weekend in Cannes, my mother in law wanted to take a leg of English lamb, until we reminded her that on seeing it, the French immigration authorities might be EXTRA offended, given their pride over their own delicious agneau! But recently on a phone-in show, I found that this is nothing. One lady who regularly goes to the Cyprus, takes with her in a chill bag, a full set of home-made kebabs, for heaven’s sake. And others always take a supply of Marmite, crackers, teabags and even bread!

Perhaps you never went away anyway. Apparently this summer many of us opted for a staycation because we wanted ‘quality time’ with our pets! My youngest son is off to uni – that’s the last one to fly the nest. I reckon I am going to have to seek quality time with a pet. Should I get a dog? And what sort? Just the thought of it is going to keep me busy for the next few months!


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