Posted by: Footler PJ20 MAR 2013
Although the benefits of regular exercise are well documented, the advice offered on the most useful types of exercise can be confusing. For example, scientists tell us that the secret is to take three short bursts of highly intensive exercise for 30 seconds each, with short rest periods between, in less than five minutes. However, a study in the Netherlands found that long periods of walking are better than high intensity exercise to improve insulin sensitivity and blood lipid levels. Meanwhile, it is said that half an hour’s rowing is more effective in exercising all the major muscle groups and improving cardiovascular health than the same period spent cycling, running or swimming.
So, what are we to do? And what about an older person who finds any of these suggestions difficult to follow?
Well, they might consider the “intelligent” armchair recently exhibited at a trade fair in Hanover, Germany. The GEWOS (Gesund wohnen mit Stil, or Healthy Living in Style) looks like a conventional armchair but the microsystems built into the seat cushions, backrest and armrests constantly measure key bodily functions while determining the correct sitting posture of the seated person. The results can be transmitted to a monitor or television screen so that pulse rate, blood oxygen saturation, blood pressure and weight can be viewed. A virtual health assistant uses the data to recommend exercise plans tailored to the user and updates them based on the progress made.
If exercise is recommended the armchair transforms into a rowing machine. A footrest slides out from below the seat while the armrests retract to reveal the oars. The rower pulls against time, distance or virtual competitors just like a gymnasium’s rowing machine.
Although rowing an armchair may not sound as much fun as rowing along a river in the fresh air, this concept could help older people to stay fit and healthy.