Sunday 25 February 2018

#My1000hours: Review why you choose to get fitter

Mark McCabe

With the recent cold weather and icy conditions, it can be easy to let training slide. After a long day, instead of heading out for your run, you would rather head for the couch. Times like these are when you need to review why you are striving to increase your activity levels.

Physical inactivity is a huge problem in Ireland, and as a result, is increasing pressure on our health system through the rising incidence of chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

Studies of physical activity levels in Ireland showed that only 41pc of Irish adults took part in moderate or strenuous physical activity for at least 20 minutes, three or more times a week. Minimum recommendations to obtain the benefits of physical activity are 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, so, as a nation, we are falling well short.

Looking to the US healthcare system’s rising costs of physical inactivity, the likelihood is that it will only get worse here unless we get moving. Current costs of the rising obesity/type 2 diabetes epidemic in the US are estimated at more than $102 billion annually. Studies in the States show that 40pc of primary care doctors there don’t meet minimum physical activity guidelines, and physically inactive doctors are less likely (36pc) to prescribe or review patients’ physical activity levels at medical visits.

When was the last time your GP asked for a run down of your training plan?

Given these figures from American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines, it pays to look for a credible role model in your goal of adopting more healthy lifestyle behaviours. Similarly, look for healthcare professionals in all fields who practice what they preach with regard to activity. Remember why you signed up for that 5/10km run again. According to the ACSM Exercise is Medicine factsheet, exercise will:

• Reduce the incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure by about 40pc

• Lower the risk of stroke by 27pc

• Lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58pc

• Be twice as effective in treating type 2 diabetes as the standard insulin prescription, and can save $2250 per person per year when compared to the cost of standard drug treatment (US)

• Decrease depression as effectively as Prozac or behavioural therapy.

So, get out the door and get running!

The Irish Independent My1000Hours 5k/10k in association with Berocca will take place on Saturday March 7.

You can sign-up for the event at

For more information on the work of the My1000Hours team, follow them at @my1000hours or go to

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