Manchester City may be Premier League champions, but it seems the rest of the region are champions of sitting on their backsides…
NHS guidelines recommending adults exercise for 150 minutes a week were branded ‘unrealistic’ for most people by health experts this week.
To stay healthy, the NHS claims 19 to 64-year-olds should aim for two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking.
However Philipe de Souto, an expert on ageing writing in the British Medical Journal, claims that just 20 minutes of vigorous exercise a week is enough to significantly reduce the risk of premature death.
A new campaign, This Girl Can (see here), has hit television screens and the internet to inspire women to ‘wiggle and jiggle’ and generally get more active.
But for some it is not so easy and exercise is difficult to squeeze into their busy lifestyles.
MM took to the streets to find out how much exercise YOU do each week and whether this goal is achievable for the average Joe.
Deborah Jackson, 56, a social worker from Prestwich, believes 150 minutes was a tough target but something people should aim for.
She said: “It seems like an unrealistic target, but perhaps it is like the five-a-day thing with fruit and veg. If you aim for that but only get half then you’ll be pretty happy.
“The same applies with the 150 minutes. If people did even half of that it would be a good start.”
A popular opinion was that while people would love to hit this goal, it just doesn’t seem possible when you combine work and other social aspects.
David Weston, a sales representative living in the city centre, echoes this belief despite aiming for a couple of runs each week.
The 26-year-old said: “I would say I do about an hour [a week] and that feels like a lot. It’s hard to squeeze it in. I’m not sure what the average Brit does, but to get everyone doing that much seems impossible.”
AIM HIGH: Deborah Jackson thinks 150 minutes a week is a good target
Charlotte Redford, 23, a retail assistant from Ashton-under-Lyne, felt the same.
She said: “I would love to say I do that amount of exercise every week but I don’t really have the time. It’s hard to get motivated especially during the week when you’re so tired from work.”
Richard Kelly, 25, said the target was tough and out it down to the majority of people’s timetables.
He said: “It’s really good but who can find the time? People have to go to work, feed their kids and put food on the table.
“But if you have no responsibilities and your physical condition is important, then more power to you if you can find 150 minutes a week.”
With regards to the This Girl Can campaign run by Sport England, Emily McAdams, 22, discovered it on social media a few days ago.
The university student said: “I saw one of the pictures with the woman doing exercise, saying she was lapping everyone who was sitting on the coach.
“It sounds like a good way to get women involved in exercise without worrying about their shape.”
Kate Tomkins, 29, from Clayton, had not seen the video, but believed it was about time they appealed to people of all shapes and sizes.
She said: “I haven’t seen the video but it sounds like a great idea.”
“Not everyone is as skinny as you see on the TV so it’s nice to know they’ve come up with a scheme that will hopefully get people more active.”
With regards to the target, Matthew Roberts, a student living in Fallowfield, who is a regular gym goer, believes setting one goal for the country is not entirely fair.
HORSES FOR COURSES: Matthew Roberts thinks that for people who ‘sit around and do nothing’ 150 minutes is an impossible task
The 24-year-old said “It is hard to set a target for a whole nation. I try and go to the gym three times a week so I would say I hit that target.
“But for people who sit around and do nothing? It’s a big ask to get them jumping up and then running round for half an hour a week, let alone more.”
Another fitness fanatic, Michael Newall, a barman living in the city centre, said while some will do 150 minutes already, others won’t even do 30 minutes a week.
The 31-year-old said: “Between tennis, running and the gym, I guess I easily reach that target, but I doubt it will be the same for everyone.
“It’s certainly achievable, but I really doubt a lot of people will come close to that.”
One novel way to hit that goal is to ditch the car to work every day for a two-wheeled machine and that is what 23-year-old James Townsend, a banker from Didsbury, decided to do.
He said: “I cycle to work every day so that’s 40 minutes, five times a week, without it even feeling like exercise.
“It’s a big target yes but that isn’t even 30 minutes a day. When you look at it like that, it isn’t that tough.”
However, 26-year-old Liam Thompson was more sceptical, and the shop assistant from Altrincham did not believe this new target would last long.
He said: “That sounds like a lot. These amounts always seem to change, so even if people start doing that, then one year down the line they’ll say no, you’ve got to do more.
“I don’t believe everything I read, I’m sure some other experts would tell you a different amount.”
Image courtesy of Nottingham Trent University, with thanks.