‘diseases. This year HEBS opted to take

Talking exercise

Advertising agencies often play on our lifestyle aspirations to sell us beer, cars or building societies, but with a health

promotion brief, they need to find a way to sell the lifestyle itself. Eddie Gibb

finds out how it’s done.

Though the Health Education Board for Scotland has an advertising budget which would barely cover lunch on a premium lager account. it has still produced some memorable campaigns. The ‘morphing‘ technique used to transform the image ofa fit young man into a hardened smoker was part of a grim series of anti-smoking ads last year which reflected the huge numbers of Scots who die from smoking-related

a gentler approach for its new campaign. due to break in March. which it hopes will encourage people to take more exercise.


‘The main message is that most people could make their lives more active by building physical exercise into their routine.‘ says Erica Wimbush. HEBS physical activity development officer. ‘We‘re not going for guilt but a very positive message that activity can be fun and enjoyable.‘

Whereas the anti-smoking TV ads delivered a sharp jolt designed to shock people into giving up. the new campaign will focus on the benefits of exercise. But can an ad really pn'se people away from the TV and into the gym?

‘We want to be supportive and get people to think for themselves,’ according to Helena Ward. account executive with the Leith Agency which is responsible for HEBS recent campaigns. ‘Most people want to exercise more and believe it‘s important but there are always lots of excuses not to do it. We want to be motivational and concentrate on the feel-good factor.‘

Ward is reluctant to reveal too much about the TV ads but they‘re unlikely to feature a series of funky Nike-style images of honed running and jumping machines in action. They‘ll be aspirational. but not that aspirational.

apparently. Instead the emphasis will be !

on accessible forms of exercise such as walking and swimming done by people with love-handles rather than well- packed lunchboxes. ‘We‘ve got to get people thinking that taking a little exercise is realistic and achievable.‘ says Ward.

The attraction ofjogging is that it‘s free and can be done just about anywhere. but it‘s an activity which is recommended with caution by fitness experts. The interest in ‘low impact‘ exercise like aerobics is the result of concern that running. the ultimate ‘high impact‘ activity, was doing some people more harm than good.

Feet thumping down hard on pavement jars the knees and can lead to . joint problems. so the best advice is buy a good pair ofcushioned running shoes and run on grass if possible. Warming up is particularly important before a run and coaches recommend you should be able to speak clearly at the end of a run more out of breath than that means you‘re pushing yourself too hard. You want to exercise your heart and lungs. not strain them.

However done in moderation. preferably altemated with another aerobic activity. running burns up fat and is a good way of improving overall fitness.

Exercising continuously for up to half an hour burns off fat. and according to Paula Bell. proprietor of Edinburgh‘s

3 Body Talk. most people start aerobics

to lose weight. ‘But the reason they keep coming back is because they feel good doing it.‘ she adds.

Aerobics gives the benefits of a steady

7 jog while minimising the dangers of - impact injuries. Many trainers

recommend aerobics classes are

alternated with other activities like step

or swimming to use different muscles groups and strain on the body. Classes

are usually run for different fitness , levels and Bell reckons anybody can start a fitness drive with aerobics.

; v STEP ;

You could probably get similar benefits j

from running up the stairs. but that hasn‘t stopped jumping up and down off a plastic box at the nearest leisure

1 centre becoming one of the most ' popular forms of exercise.

Step was developed as an alternative

; to aerobics and is claimed to be ‘lower

impact‘. which means less chance of


With the introduction of step and slide. aerobics could be regarded as the vanilla flavour ofexercise but it is still a quick way to get fit. Strictly speaking aerobic activity is anything you can keep up at a steady level without knackering yourself but has come to mean the dance-based exercise done to music.

damage to joints. The step‘s van'able height means that people of different fitness levels can do the same exercises. which basically involve stepping up and down in time to music. According to Marco‘s top instructor Jim Coleman this burns up fat on ‘the waist. thighs and bum‘. and when combined with waving the arms about. also tones up the upper body.

‘lt's about toning rather than building

l up muscles.‘ explains Coleman. which , is one reason why it has traditionally

i appealed to women. though Marco‘s is ; finding increasing numbers of men

I going to the classes. And why is it so

1 popular? ‘Because it‘s fun.‘ says

g Coleman.


5 These days few people. other than

i hardcore body-builders. use free weights bars with a'lump of iron at

I each end. Now most weight-training is

. done on machines that allow you to pull weights indirectly using a system

' of pulleys. This is safer because you are

~ less likely to drop a weight on your toe.

or worse. But weights machines can still cause injury if used wrongly so most gyms insist on an induction session to show you how it‘s done.

Weight-training is the best way to build up strength in a particular part of your body, as opposed to simply improving cardiovascular fitness. so if you hanker after a triangular torso or Mike Tyson neck muscles. this how to do it. However weight-training is rapidly losing its macho image and using light weights with a lot of repetitions -jargon for the number of times you lift the weight is a good way to tone up the muscles.

The List l4—27 January I994 75