5 Greatest Health mysteries

Starting out or even maintaining healthy lifestyle you’ll need to be aware some vital facts in order to base your nutrition and workout routines on. However this can be a daunting task, as you’ll soon learn to appreciate that the more you learn and read up on the more confused you’ll become. I have attempted to lay down some of the basic facts you’ll need and provide answers to the modern conundrums like is sitting the new smoking or do I need to walk a marathon every day?

Must I take 10, 000 steps daily ?

The rise in wearable devices has really popularized the notion that all you need to do to get and stay fit is to ensure that you walk for at least 10,000 steps a day. Is this really the case or is this just some hype to sell pedometers ?

TL/DR : Yes, but ideally include some cardio

There has been lot of research in this area and many experts conclude, that while 10,000 steps a day is a good number to target, any amount of activity beyond what you’re currently doing will likely have a positive impact on your health. Walking 10,000 steps a day may not be an official recommendation but in most cases this recommendation may boil down to 150 minutes of moderate activity per wee, such as brisk walking.

If you are new to exercise or are looking for a gentle intro to get you more motivated then there is nothing better that starting slowly in gently increasing your step count on a daily basis

For more detail on this subject check out  my  10, 000 steps a day journey , in which I explain how I incorporated 10,000 steps a day into my daily work-out routine

Do I really need 8 hours a day sleep ?

TL/DR : Research in this area is still inconclusive

I remember from my school day while studying Biology, that it was suggested the human beings required at least 8-10 hours sleep a night to perform at our optimum. However, a study from the University of California (UCLA) suggests that our ancestors didn’t get 8 hours a night sleep and if you believe everything the Daily mail we actually only need 6 hours sleep.

There is still alot of conflicting advice in this area, I can only suggest what works for me and I generally try get between 7-9 hours sleep a night. This depends on a whole host of factors, which includes how hard I trained during the day and if I am just mentally fatigued! I do beleive it is the quality of the sleep that you get. If you’re a new parent just getting any sleep at all is a bonus.

Are standing desks good for your health ?

There is definitely a lot hype around about this particular issue, going so far as many organisations trying to entice new staff by advertising that they have standing desk friendly environments. Some vendors of some fantastic standing desk gadgetary tend suggest that sitting down for extended periods has a worse impact on your health than smoking. So surely if you’re sitting down and smoking you’re doubling your chances of cancer!

TL/DR : Yes, but its not just the standing

I have read a few conflicting studies in this regard, but the general consensus is that standing desks do have some form of positive impact. However, it’s not necessarily the standing that has the postive impact. From my own experiments in this area, I have found that by having a standing desk, I am more likely to move around a lot more while working. Personally I have foundfor me personally I can only do certain types of work while standing. So in my home office I have configured 2 desks , one for seated work, i.e. Software Development, Writing and prolonged research. I then use my standing desk for Email, Goto Webinar presentations, Video calls, phone calls etc.
I have found that because I am standing I am more likely to engage in other exercise related like Stretching, Lunges, Squats and just generally a little more movement. The research I have read into this subject is that this is generally what the scientists believe provides the real benefits of standing desks.

Do I really need 5 portions of Fruit and Veg a day ?

I think we can all remember the rhyme “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” , which probably leads us to thinking that if all we need is an apple why do I need the 4 portions prescribed ?

TL/DR : Ideally it should be more!

The truth is that a whopping 85% of adults do not meet the target of 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. Despite the evidence showing that for every portion of fuit and veg eaten there is a reduced risk of stroke and some cancers. Ideally most adults should be aiming for a lot higher intake of fruit and veg, however 5 portions is generally good target to aim for.

Do I need to drink 2 litres of water a day?

There is a lot of general advice out there stating that we should be consuming between 6-8 glasses of H2O or more commonly known as water on daily basis. Is this really true.

TL/DR : No

I have studied a number of different conflicting reports on this matter and what I have gleaned from them is that there is a lot of confusion as to what scientist regard as water or fluids. The general guidelines point to that woman should aim for 2 litres of fluids and men should target 2.5 litres of fluids. When refering to fluids scientists are not necessarily refering to just water, they are including other beverages like Tea, Coffee , Soda’s etc and the also the fluids we consume from foods. Scientists estimate that we should derive 70% of fluids from drinks and 30 per cent from foods. However, water is still the optimum choice for hydration as it contains no calories or sugars.

Conclusion

In my quest to learn as much as I can about leading a healthier and physically fit lifestyle I have read a lot of misguided and conflicting information about what is good or bad for you. Often times a lot of this information is intended to just fill up space in newspapers or magazines, or hurriedly compiled just to reach deadlines. If you hang around gyms long enough and speak to any of the people working out you’ll also hear conflicting information, primarily because they have based their knowledge on one of these newspaper columns or articles. My general advice it to try and sift through this white noise and make your own informed decision and not base your decisions on any one research paper or media article. The truth is that a number of university research programs, media articles etc will all be funded by organizations and companies which will have a vested interest in ensuring that the outcome of the research places their product in a good light.

Gary Woodfine

Founder and CEO of Three Nine Consulting, a father of 3 and a geek. Highly experienced in establishing and running profitable small businesses. Strong abilities in creating businesses with minimal funds in industries as diverse as construction to software development. Experienced in learning, adapting and prospering with any business.

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