Zone 1 is pretty much watching Antiques Roadshow in a favourite armchair; Zone 5 is being chased by a pack of slavering rabid dogs.

Zone 2 is the place where your body is working, but not very hard. Technicall­y this is 60-70 per cent of your maximum heart rate, but an easier way to check is the ‘talk test’. If you’re in Zone 2 you should be able to hold a fully realised conversati­on. You should be able to use complex sentences, not just sentiments such as ‘Help!’ or ‘Taxi!’.

The point at which you reach Zone 2 will depend on your individual level of fitness. For those who are at the extreme end of sedentary, simply moving about the house performing chores can be a Zone 2 workout. The important thing is to keep going and not stray up into the zones that will put more stress on the body. Each session needs to be sufficient­ly prolonged for the benefits to accrue. Experts recommend an hour to 90 minutes. The minimum time to feel the complete benefit of Zone 2 is 45 minutes. Research suggests less than this and you will not get the mitochondr­ial health you are hoping for. It also means letting go of the ‘personal best’ obsession, but when you do, the reward is a calming, life-enhancing hour of your life with a rich array of health benefits. Antiques Roadshow, it turns out, runs to just about optimal Zone 2 duration. The universe is sending us a message.

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