Having been intrigued by Michael Mosley’s Horizon programme called the Truth about Exercise, I have decided to experiment with what he suggests. The idea of a 3 minute a week exercise regime is too interesting to pass by without investigating. I am 51 with no health problems except being a bit overweight, so I don’t see anything particularly risky. So the questions are simply, what can I practically do and how do I measure the results.
Now as it happens for the last two months I have been working on getting into the habit of doing a half mile run when I wake up and when I get home from work. The main motivation for this has been that I find it stops my back from aching when I have had to spend a lot of time sitting down doing at a desk. (My job alternates between working in a lab and doing the paperwork generated by working in a lab. The proportion of the latter keeps going up every time there is a change in the legislation or customers ‘improve their systems’.) I have found that getting just that little bit of extra exercise makes me feel better all round as well.
So my plan is to build some high intensity exercise into my morning run. According to the programme you should do three bursts of 20 seconds, which is a lot easier than a whole minute in one go. It doesn’t sound much, but a minute is quite a long time when you are working hard. I am going to have to build up to this because it is very easy to overdo it when running. I don’t want to pull a muscle. I’ll try just doing three sprints of any duration for a week, and time them when I am confident I can do it without simultaneously doing myself an injury.
A good experiment ought to have some kind of measurable outcome. I don’t have the equipment to measure my insulin resistance or aerobic fitness. But I do have my evening run where I can monitor my speed over a standard distance. Presumably if I am getting fitter then my speed will increase.
I am not particularly interested in my running speed for its own sake. I don’t need to chase down woolly mammoths to feed my family. But I am interested in making sure my insulin is effectively metabolising glucose. I don’t have a history of diabetes in my family, but even so it does seem to be something well worth avoiding.
I’ll post how I get on.
Postscript: I have now started the experiment.