Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 8 December 2019

The 'no sweat' way to keeping fit

The brothers Ryan and Sean Penny are Dubai-based health and nutrition consultants whose new book is an introduction to a fitness regimen that involves spreading workouts over 24 hours.
Ryan, left, and Sean Penny, also called the Wellness Brothers, have co-authored the fitness book No Sweat. To keep fit, they advocate short bursts of movement throughout the day. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Ryan, left, and Sean Penny, also called the Wellness Brothers, have co-authored the fitness book No Sweat. To keep fit, they advocate short bursts of movement throughout the day. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Whether it’s the cost of joining a gym, the impracticalities of getting there or simply the scorching weather outside, there are plenty of reasons why people in the UAE convince themselves they can’t exercise.

But a pair of South African siblings believe they’ve come up with a solution that leaves no excuses for not embarking on a fitness regimen. The Dubai-based health and nutrition consultants Ryan and Sean Penny are better known as the Wellness Brothers.

They say they have created a unique workout programme that incorporates enough physical activity throughout one’s day-to-day routine to keep you in top-notch health. Rather than urging people to undergo long and strenuous bouts of intense exercise, they espouse a less sweaty way of keeping fit.

The Spread Workout system is all about short bursts of functional movements that you complete at your convenience throughout the day. It’s all outlined in their new book, No Sweat. “Basically, we believe many chronic conditions can be remedied simply by moving more frequently and often,” contends Ryan Penny.

“We feel that lifestyle-related illnesses such as high-blood pressure, obesity and diabetes can all be allayed by simple exercise programmes in which you move a lot and more often. The frequency of movement is the key message of this book.”

Depending on your fitness level, they propose completing a set number of exercises such as squats, press-ups, push-ups and crunches.

So, for example, an unhealthy person should aim for total of 200 reps – which they define as a full single motion movement – in a 24-hour period. A “super fit” individual should try to hit 500 reps.

This is achieved through what they call the “3-6-10” technique, which calls for completing at least three sets per day, six days a week over a 10-week cycle.

Ryan says their main mission is to seriously reduce the amount of time people spend sitting down. Yet, as many people work desk-bound jobs then spend their evenings ensconced on the sofa, this is no easy task.

“Even if you exercise hard for an hour each day, you are doing yourself untold, irreparable damage by sitting around being sedentary for too long,” contends Ryan.

“You are still putting yourself at risk, and exercise does not undo the damage done by a sedentary lifestyle.”

For this reason, you need to punctuate periods of inactivity with brief spells of movement. “We want to get it into people’s heads that exercise is not only valuable if it is not done in 30- to 40-minute bursts. Exercise is valuable in small bursts, if it is broken up into shorter workouts,” he says.

But Ryan also suggests some other ways to increase your rate of activity.

At home, forgo the remote control and walk over to the TV to switch channels, wash the dishes by hand instead of piling them in a dishwasher or, when out and about, park your car some distance from your destination, then use your legs to walk over.

Even your place of work should not be exempt from your regimen, says Ryan. For example, while at your desk one could perch on a Pilates ball instead of an office chair to improve core muscle strength, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or now and again escape to a meeting room for a few reps of squats or push-ups.

“You need to become an exercise opportunist in your day,” he says. “Whether you’re a triathlete or totally unfit, this will have huge benefits to your health.”

It’s also up to companies to install a culture where staff are free to exercise without being frowned upon.

“If your company is serious about your well-being, it should set aside a place where you can workout,” says Ryan. “This will have untold benefit to your employees and your employers, it will reduce the amount of sick leave they take and your health care costs. It really is a simple thing.”



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Updated: June 4, 2013 04:00 AM