London is trying to build an image for itself as a super-fit city ready for the 2012 Olympic Games, but London took a knock today as research showed that more than three-quarters of the population could not run one mile.
A new survey claimed a third of all Londoners could climb only three flights of stairs before stopping for breath and half cannot touch their toes.
The research also disclosed a lack of understanding about exercise, with over half of participants claiming to be very confused about what they should be doing to keep fit. Nationally, two thirds of Britons cannot do 20 sit-ups and more than two thirds do no fast-paced exercise at all.
Fred Turok, chairman the leading UK chain of gyms LA Fitness, which commissioned the research, said: “These worryingly low levels of fitness will ultimately ignite the time bomb that is the obesity issue.”
London Fitness Facts – Action You Can Take:
More than one in three Londoners cannot climb three flights of stairs without getting out of breath - if you work in a tall building, test yourself at work by taking the stairs instead of the lift.
75% of Londoners can’t run a mile
Even if you are unfit and have not run in years, you should be able to comfortably run (or jog, or even plod) a mile in 15 minutes. In fact, average walking pace is 15 minutes to the mile. So test yourself. Get some trainers (ensure that they are road running shoes) and go for a 15 minute jog.
Half of Londoners cannot touch their toes
This is a trickier one. Even people that do regular exercise often find that they cannot touch their toes. So, after exercising, or as soon as you have warmed your muscles up, do some stretching exercises – stretch up to the sky, then down to the floor. Repeat a few times. In time, flexibility will increase.
72% of Londoners do not know their weight, or what it should be
Many people live in denial of their ill health, and many are ignorant of the fact that they are overweight. Weigh yourself, and check your body mass index. Unless you are a rugby player or professional sumo wrestler, your body mass index should not really be over 30 (this is considered obese), and ideally it should be between 20 and 25.
Get Up and Move!
The only way to break this trend is if more people get up and move. Walking, jogging and running are the easiest forms of exercise for most people to do. It is free and with a good pair of trainers (from a dedicated running store, not a big brand name) will reduce risk of injury.