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BBC 6 minute English-Beating a sedentary lifestyle

BBC 6 minute English-Beating a sedentary lifestyle

BBC 6 minute English-Beating a sedentary lifestyle


Transcript of the podcast

This is not a word for word transcript

Catherine: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m Catherine

Dan: And I’m Dan

Catherine: Now Dan, would you say you had a sedentary lifestyle at all

Dan: If I only went to work, yes, I would have a pretty sedentary life. I sit on the tube, I sit at my desk or in the studio for most of the day. But because I know that’s not good for my health, I do also like to go to the gym a couple of times a week and I’ll do some exercise, like a bike ride or playing football at the weekend. So, my job is pretty sedentary, but not my life

Catherine: Nice answer, Dan. And our topic today is about how one country in particular has been very successful in dealing with the problem of a sedentary population. But before we find out more, here is today’s question. According to a recent survey, how long does the average person in the UK spend sitting down every day? Is it

a) between 6 and 7 hours

b) between 7 and 8 hours? or

c) between 8 and 9 hours

So, Dan, what do you think

Dan: Based on my day, it would be between 8 and 9 hours, but I don’t know if I am an average person! So I’m interested to learn the answer for myself

Catherine: We’ll find out the answer later in the programme. Now, 40 years ago Finland was perhaps the unhealthiest country in the Western world. But now, it’s one of the healthiest

Dan: Death by heart disease in Finland has fallen by 80% and life expectancy, the age at which the average person lives until, has risen by 10 years

Catherine: How has this been achieved? This was investigated on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme and one of the ways Finland has improved the health of the nation is by a lot of state involvement. BBC reporter John Laurenson describes in a humorous way how this works. How does he describe someone with many health problems

John Laurenson

If you’re an exercise shirker because you’re fat or old or asthmatic or chained to your computer or just plain lazy or all of those things rolled into one super-health disaster zone, they will come to you in the form perhaps, of a stern lady with a clipboard and make some firm suggestions. They won’t actually drag you off your PlayStation, out of your nursing home or out of the pub but they do get quite close

Catherine: How did he describe someone with a lot of health problems, Dan

Dan: Well, he wasn’t very complimentary, and we should emphasise that this report is quite tongue-in-cheek, which means that it’s meant to be funny and shouldn’t be taken seriously but he called the people with many health problems super-health disaster zones

Catherine: ‘Super-health disaster zones’. So what other vocabulary can we pick from what he said

Dan: He talked about being an exercise shirker. A shirker is someone who avoids doing something usually because they are being lazy. It’s also a verb, to shirk

Catherine: Laurenson says that if you are an exercise shirker or indeed a super-health disaster zone, someone from the authorities will come and visit you. In another tongue-in-cheek description he says that this visitor might be a stern lady with a clipboard

Dan: Stern is an adjective which means very serious and strict, someone without a sense of humour who might be quite angry. And in his description the reporter says that this stern lady will have a clipboard. It’s a hard board you can attach papers to so you can write on the paper while you are moving around

Catherine: So we have this image of an angry lady arriving at your house to tell you off for your health habits and make you live a healthier life

Dan: But he does point out that they won’t actually drag you out of your house to do exercise. However, in the report he goes on to say that there is lot of encouragement, even from school age, to eat well and take regular exercise

Catherine: Well, before a stern lady with a clipboard comes and tells us off for not finishing on time, let’s get the answer to today’s quiz. According to a recent survey, how long does the average person in the UK spend sitting down every day? Is it

a) between 6 and 7 hours

b) between 7 and 8 hours or

c) between 8 and 9 hours

Dan: And I said I had no idea

Catherine: Well, the answer was c), Dan – between 8 and 9 hours. In fact, it was 8 and a quarter hours. By comparison, in Finland, it’s less than 6 hours

Dan: I guess we are a lot more sedentary in Britain

Catherine: And sedentary is our first word in our vocabulary review. It’s an adjective used to describe a lifestyle which involves a lot of sitting and not much exercise

Dan: And if you are very sedentary, it can lead to a lower life expectancy. Life expectancy – the age to which you are expected to live

Catherine: Next we had the word shirker for someone who avoids doing something they don’t like, usually because they are lazy. For example, an exercise shirker avoids exercise

Dan: Something that is said tongue-in-cheek is meant to be humorous and not taken seriously

Catherine: If you are stern though, you want to be taken seriously. It’s an adjective that means serious and strict

Dan: And finally there’s clipboard. A board you attach papers to so you write on them as you walk around

Catherine: Well, Dan, it’s time for us to go and get some exercise. Join us again next time and remember you can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and of course our website bbclearningenglish.com. See you soon, bye

Dan: Bye

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