More than half a century after it was first broadcast on the BBC, Monty Python’s famous sketch “The Silly Walk” has inspired a group of researchers at Arizona State University to see how effective people are keen on burning some calories after the excesses of the holiday season.
Search results – called Determining the benefits of passive walking: a laboratory pilot study inspired by Monty Python It was published in the British Medical Journal, and while the research is clearly part of the fun at the end of the year, the testing methods were nonetheless very detailed.
For anyone not familiar with the silly walking Python Ministry sketch, The Times called it a “satire of bureaucratic incompetence” and features John Cleese as civil servant Mr Teague. We see Teague walking to work in a very silly way before a meeting with Mr. Putty (Michael Palin), who is requesting a government grant to advance his silly career. Unfortunately for Petit, his career is too plausible, and so his application is denied.
Using Cleese’s gait as the focus of the study, the research team recruited 13 healthy adults with an average age of 34. Each participant was told to perform three types of walks around a 30-meter circuit, with each walk lasting five minutes.
The first march was in their usual style, while the second was in the putti style, and the third was in the funny teabag style.
Data on oxygen uptake, energy expenditure, and exercise intensity were recorded, with calorie expenditure also tracked. However, the team did not record “the minutes spent laughing or the number of smiles as secondary outcomes while walking ineffectively.”
The results revealed the following:
- Passive walking (Teabag style) increases energy expenditure in adults by about 2.5 times compared to regular walking.
- Adults can achieve 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week by walking teabag style, rather than their usual stride, for about 11 minutes per day.
- Replacing regular style steps with Teabag style steps for 12 to 19 minutes per day will increase your daily energy expenditure by about 100 calories.
In conclusion, the research team states: “A half-century ago, the Ministry of Silly Marching play may have inadvertently touched on a powerful way to enhance cardiovascular fitness in adults. Increasing the inefficiency of physical activity and movement we already perform (and therefore do not require an additional time commitment) It may complement other public health efforts to promote regular physical activity in an enjoyable way.”
So, next time you’re on your daily commute or strolling around the mall, consider a super silly walk-in place to boost your health. Although prepare for some looks.
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