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March 29, 2006

Government Targets

Do the government have targets for absolutely everything?

I know I can only drink so many units of alcohol a week. I know I have to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. But now I discover that I'm supposed to have 150 minutes of exercise every week too. That's two and a half hours. That's thirty minutes a day, five times a week.

I train a lot, I'm trying to get fit enough for a triathlon. In an average week I will meet and exceed this target, mostly due to a long bike ride at the weekend. If I miss the bike ride I do not make the 150 minutes, and yet still feel as if I get more than enough exercise.

I know very few people who take exercise as seriously as I do. The survey by Deloitte mentioned on the BBC website says that nearly half the population meet the target - I think this is complete rubbish. Do a straw poll of your friends and see if I'm right.

To eat five pieces of fruit and veg is actually quite difficult to manage every day; you have to constantly try and remember to do it, or else make a big change to your daily routine and shopping to keep your house filled with the stuff. Fruit is also expensive. I do my best but I'm constantly falling behind my 'target'. Constantly failing like this is demoralising, and the big temptation then is just to give up. Likewise with this exercise target - not many people will put in the time, and most will just resign themselves to being couch potatoes. I'm also pretty sure it used to be twenty minutes of exercise, three times a week.

I think this is another example of the government giving us unrealistic targets in the hope that we try and meet them, and in doing so, actually do enough. More realistic targets will be much more effective, and will do more good in the long run. If you find yourself regularly meeting the target, you might even get a buzz out of exceeding it occasionally.

Update: Just remembered the Eight Glases Of Water post I did a while back.

Posted by se71 at March 29, 2006 07:39 AM


I'd not be surprised if walking counts as exercise. So wandering down to the station in the morning and back in the evening would count for at least half of my 150 minutes a week.

Posted by: DrHyde [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 30, 2006 12:22 PM

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