Adopting Monty Python silly walks boosts calories burnt per stroll
Fitting regular walks into your daily routine can be a great way to get some active minutes into your day, but what if you make those walks as inefficient as possible? A new study has explored this idea via a pair of gaits exhibited in a famous Monty Python sketch, and found that by adopting this kind of ridiculous walking style for just 11 minutes a day, adults can reach their physical activity targets and lower their risk of mortality.
The walking styles in question were performed by Mr Teabag and My Putey, characters played John Cleese and Michael Palin, in the 1971 Monty Python sketch “Ministry of Silly Walks." For sports science researchers at Arizona State University, these provided the perfect vehicle to test the disparity in energy expenditure of silly saunters and a regular, efficient way of walking.
Thirteen healthy adults were enlisted for the study and had their height and body weight measured, and then made to walk a 30-meter (98-ft) course for five minutes in their usual style. After watching a video of the Ministry of Silly Walks sketch, the subjects then repeated the course while imitating the inefficient gaits of the sketch’s two characters.
Meanwhile, the scientists monitored average speed, oxygen uptake, energy expenditure and exercise intensity. This showed that compared to a regular walk, the Mr Teabag walk, where legs are alternately stretched out and feet pulled up toward the face during a stride, was far more energy intensive.
Oxygen uptake more than doubled and was in the realm of vigorous intensity exercise, while energy expenditure was around 2.5 times that of regular walking. The scientists calculated that walking Mr Teabag-style for one minute instead of regular walking burnt an additional 8 calories for men and 5 calories for women.
Extrapolating on these findings, the team estimates that adults could reach the 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise recommended by the CDC, by doing 11 minutes of Mr Teabag-style walking each day. They also note that even short bursts of physical activity spread over time can add up to meaningful health benefits, so one- or two-minute bouts of silly walking may still be worthwhile.
Moreover, the study demonstrates that by making our movements inefficient by design, we can make our everyday activities better for our health.
“Our analysis of the energy consumed during different styles of walking seeks to empower people to move their own bodies in more energetic – and hopefully joyful – ways,” the team writes. “Efforts to boost cardiovascular fitness should embrace inclusivity and inefficiency for all.”
The research was published in the journal The BMJ.
Source: BMJ via Eurekalert