Couch to 5K
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Conflicting messages

The above article appeared on the BBC website this morning, this sort of information is not helpful, I don't know about my C25K friends, but I do wish the medical world would make their minds up on things before giving information out! One minute its 5 a day, then its not, then its bird flu is going to wipe us out, Y2K bug is going to make all planes drop out the sky, we are going to die of mad cow decease etc it goes on and on. If anyone from Government or the medical profession is reading this, please get your facts right before spouting off and if you don't know then stay schtum please. I'm damned sure that being fit is better than lounging around like a grounded walrus?

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If you read into this a little more deeply you'll find that the advice given in the original report isn't conflicting. It's the media interpretation with the attention grabbing headlines that is.

What the report basically says is that food manufacturers shouldn't be telling us that exercise is the answer to combating a junk food diet. Exercise ALONE will not cure obesity. Having a good diet is key. Then, once the diet is in place adding exercise on top is a real plus. Don't just think that if you are obese and choose to exercise but make no other lifestyle changes (i.e. you continue to stuff yourself with junk food), you will lose weight.

I don't see anything wrong in that. It seems to make sense to me. What does annoy me is the headline spin that exercise does nothing for you in battling obesity. The report doesn't say that at all. The report says that to reduce weight you need to diet as well as exercise.

This sort of complements the news story a few weeks ago that to exercise and be overweight was healthier than to be not overweight and not exercise.


Point taken Adam and a good one, but the headline is annoying.


Running alone will not shift the weight - diet & running will. Old

News but sensationalised and twisted by the media. Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story!!!

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I heard this on the radio and commented with some choice Saxon words.


lol I think I can imagine what they were.


I take it all with a large pinch of salt personally ;-)

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I didn't hear it as i had more important things to tune my ears too. Popmaster! 😊


I hardly believe any news nowadays... not that I ever did :)

On the same here:

But to be fair, they do not advocate lounging on the couch - they just state that a bad diet cannot become suddenly ok if one starts exercising.

I am not convinced on the kind of diet they suggest, but I completely agree with the fact that the food industry does have a lot to answer for.

I also think that most people that start exercising after spending a good part of their life on the couch generally try also to improve their diet, so both things do go together.

The problem I see is that often the shift is towards "healthy" foods *, superfoods, energy drinks... still a money making machine in my view, and most of the time totally unnecessary: one certainly does not need a £2 energy bar and a "kinetica" drink after a 30 minutes run - a glass of water and a couple of nuts would be enough!


The problem is that the media will and are spinning this as "you don't need to exercise" which is the message that people who really do need to exercise will hear.


I have absolute respect for Dr Aseem Malhotra, one of the authors of the report, he's a man that has firmly stuck his head above the parapet in recent year.

I agree with the article wholeheartedly. It's important to note that it is not negating the importance that exercise plays in health, far from it.

Exercise is also a great tool for maintaining a healthy weight because weight gain is very simplistic, it's about an energy balance, too much in and not enough out increases Fat Storage but Fat Loss is far more complex (note the word Fat and not Weight, it's important). In order to lose fat a number of Biochemical criterias need to be met, that's a fact. This biochemical state is reasonably easy to reach and achieve in young, healthy, active people but much much harder and in some cases impossible, in older, metabolically ill and obese people. You can have them run to the moon and back but if they are eating foods that prevent them reaching this Fat Burning state (highly insulinogenic) they won't burn fat.

The food industry and its puppets have a lot to explain but I doubt though it will happen for generations because it's going to take generations to change public perception completely.

Just remember its not that long ago you'd have found an Ashtray next to your bed in an NHS Hospital Ward.

Exercise for Health and Longevity, alter what you eat to change your trouser size.


The problem, im(ns)ho is that not enough people take responsibility for their own lives.

Granted, it's not helpful when the fast food industry runs campaigns that implies that it's okay to live on crap as long as you exercise a bit, but it really doesn't take a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon to figure out that that specific advice is incorrect.

And if Mr or Ms overweight fails to recognise that the advice is incorrect, a look in the mirror ought to be enough to make the penny drop. Add a bit of exercise, 3 suger filled sports drinks, a big mac and a supersized coke and another look in the mirror. Oh shucks, maybe I need to exercise some more. Wait. Let's try to add those "calories", whatever they are, together to compare the burn caused by the exercise to the intake from all the crap food. Oh wow, it really does take a lot of exercise doesn't it? Maybe it would be better to skip some of the crap food....

And I say this as someone who, after exercising regularly for a year, is still overweight.


To be honest, a lot of health reporting is just spin and misinterpretation of medical data by people that dont know how to interpret it properly. Controversial headlines sell papers but may not always be the truth. I think the idea is that a healthy diet and exercise is more beneficial than an unhealthy diet and exercise. Its not rocket science. As Tomas says, its all about taking personal responsibility for your health and wellbeing .

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Laura is a goddess as far as I am concerned... with a few exceptions. As an obese woman, I did not need and should not have been expecting to have even a banana after my run. OK so a banana is infinitely better than some of the other things one might eat but really, 30 minutes exercise of which 8 minutes is running... no eating required.

As has been pointed out, blame the media for the headlines and blame ourselves (as a population) for hearing what we want to hear BUT surely scientists could be a lot more media savvy these days.


It is very dissapointing how the standard of reporting on the bbc has deteriorated so much in recent years. So often they take messages from scientific research and report them partially and misleadingly in order to get the most eye catching headline. Often the research is infact telling us nothing very new, but the media, looking for a good story, interpret and spin it in such a way as to make it eye catching, (and misleading).

The result of this is that people are more and more dismissive of scientific reports, when the problem is the way in which those reports are filtered by the media.

In this particular instance, the report is not suggesting that execise is pointless, or even that it serves no purpose in weight loss, just that it isnt key to weight loss. It is true that if you eat a mars bar and a packet of crisps then it will take a considerable amount of running to burn off those calories. Far better to not eat the mars bar and crisps in the first place.

However, exercise is generally accepted to be hugely beneficial for a number of aspects of health, both physical and mental. A strong healthy body will even be burning more calories at rest than does a body that never does exercise.

Running can also lift your mood, so you will be less inclined to comfort eat.

It is such a shame that the culture of the bbc has shifted away from analysis and education towards tabloid shock journalism. Happily there are still a few serious programs such as "More or Less" on radio 4, but they are few and far between, and diminishing.

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