Category Archives: Diana Moran

Diana Moran is the Green Goddess who introduced fitness to Great Britain in the 1980s. At 76 she is as active as ever and ready to share her secrets.

High energy

You may feel like you can’t summon up the energy to get up and go, you feel tired and lethargic all the time, or you don’t feel like you can face the world.  If so, this revitalising plan is for you. In as few as three days, you can reinvigorate your body, improve your energy levels and bring back that enthusiasm that seemed lost.

  • The energy process

Energy is created in the body from food.  When we eat, our bodies break down ingested food into glucose, which is the main sugar that we use for fuel.  It can do this from any food: cakes, rare steaks, spinach.  Healthy or unhealthy, the body can use food as energy.  However, its favourite sources are carbohydrate foods like fruit, vegetables, bread pastas and rice, because these foods can be broken down, it is combined with oxygen.  This ‘burns’ the sugar and turns it into a unit of energy called adenosine triphosphate, which the cells then use store and use when they need it.

In a healthy, fatigue-free body, this process works without any problems and, as a result, we spend each day fully functioning and raring to go.  Sometimes this energy process breaks down, however, and this is when we start to feel tired.

  • What goes wrong?

Many things can interfere with the energy process, but these are the four main problems:

  1. You don’t have enough nutrients to trigger energy conversion.
  2. You don’t have enough blood-sugar to produce energy quickly and cleanly.
  3. You don’t have enough oxygen in the system.
  4. You don’t have enough mitochondria – the constituents of cells that turn glucose into fuel
  • The solution – high energy plan

By following the energising plan you will boost your body and feel reinvigorated.  Although it is given here as a daily plan, you should follow the plan for at least three days.  Doing this will double up your energy levels in a long weekend, however one week is the optimum time to follow the programme

7:20 am

If you do not enjoy waking up early, try using a daylight alarm.  This will at least wake your body up more gently.   The level of light is slowly raised in the room, waking you up slowly and calmly.

07:30 am

Take Supplements one multivitamin supplement (Earthsource Wholefood multiple formula), one probiotic supplement (Advanced acidophilus) and one capsule of fish oil (Fish Oil Concentrate)  (or if your vegetarian one evening primrose oil) with a large glass of water.  This is the first of eight glasses of water you will drink over the entire day – aim roughly for one glass an hour.  The supplements will not only provide nutrients but will also aid your digestion, maximising what you can absorb from food.  Leave half an hour between these and eating.

07:40 am

Gentle stretching can be done outside or at least facing a window, which adds to your energy banks because sunlight stops production of the sleep- inducing hormone melatonin

07:50 am

Body-Brush  Using a natural-bristled brush with medium-hard bristles, brush each are of your body with long, firm (but not hard) strokes.  Always start with the soles of your feet, because stimulating these actually starts the lymph flowing.  Brush smoothly 4-5 times, always in the direction of the heart, moving around the whole body part.  Do this around your calves, then your thighs and hips.  Now do your arms, chest, torso and back.  Finally, brush your stomach.  Once you’ve finished, shower or at least rinse yourself well.  As well as obviously cleaning the skin, the repeated motion of brushing or scrubbing the body causes the speed of the circulation to increase (helping flush toxins out of the system faster), and this is also believed to promote lymph flow.

08:00 am

Get your breakfast B vitamins  B Vitamins are vital to the energy levels of your body, and breakfast foods are an excellent source.   For best results, choose a bowl of organic wholegrain cereal with oat/rice/soya/dairy milk.  Alternatively rye toast or spelt with sugar free fruit jam or honey.  Enjoy fruit of your choice with these.  If you’re used to having a coffee in the morning skipping it will make you more tired.  Try a natural dandelion coffee or another type of natural substitute found in your health food store

10:00 am 

‘De-Junk’ your day.  Energy is not just sapped physically form our bodies, it is also sapped mentally by stress, worry and feelings of being overwhelmed.  Whether you work in an office or are busy at home, clearing out physical and mental clutter should be your first job.  Tidy your desk, sort out any bills, or any other necessary paperwork that you really don’t want to do.  When this is finished it will feel like a weight has been lifted fro you and your energy will start to soar.

11:20 am

Time for a healthy snack  Not only does eating little and often keep the blood-sugar levels in the body stable, but it also boosts energy in other ways.  Digesting foods uses energy, and meals that are too large can fatigue the body.  Healthy snacks, such as fruit, take the edge off your appetite and stop you overeating at meals.

13:00 pm

Eat a good lunch  This meal should boost your oxygen and fluid levels in the body, giving you energy to face the afternoon when energy levels dip.  Good oxygen-boosting foods are watercress, spinach, dark cabbage, lettuce and sprouts.  Also fill up on fluid-heavy foods like celery, cucumber, fennel, apples, pears, watermelon, grapefruit and grapes. Finally include some asparagus, since this (along with alfalfa) helps neutralise the natural toxin ammonia produced within our body, a common cause of fatigue.

Take one Earthsource wholefood (Solgar) multivitamin and mineral formula to enhance your energy levels and cleansing for the rest of the day.

15:00 

Head outside  By now, the air in your office, or even at home, is likely to be low in oxygen, boosting your feelings of fatigue.  Go for a quick walk, or stretching in fresh air.

18:00 

Be active – walk or do some exercise.  Toxins have the ability to sap our energy by acting negatively on the mitochondria within the body.  If you build up muscle through exercise, you also increase the number of mitochondria.  Take 30 mins every other day on this plan to do some kind of aerobic or strength training, and ideally do it between 4 pm and 7 pm.

20:00 

Eat your evening meal Overnight the body regenerates and naturally detoxes, so the focus on your evening meal should be to provide an ample supply of detoxifying foods to boost this process. You should combine these with carbohydrates; while these are primarily energy givers, in doses of more than 75g (3 oz) at one time they can calm the body and promote sleep.

21:00 

Blend yourself a bedtime bath  Bathing stimulates the natural cooling process the body uses to trigger sleep hormones.  Add some of the essential oil marjoram, which has a sedative effect, but also fortifying to the body, helping create strength for the next day.  Add 3 drops of marjoram and 3 drops of calming mandarin to your bath, lie back and relax.

22:30

Go to bed Getting a good night’s sleep is essential as it is how the body repairs and recharges.

  • Suggested lunch menu

A glass of “high energy juice”!

Put each of the following through the juicer, then mix together and shake well.  Drink immediately…..

6 slices of pineapple

1 banana

6 fresh strawberries

1 handful of wheatgrass

PLUS…..choose a 50g (2oz) portion of one (or a mix) of the following:

Salmon, anchovies, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines, sunflower seeds, walnuts,or cashews.  These protein foods create a slowly burned form of energy and provide high levels of essential fatty acids.

ADD…. protein to one of the following energising vegetable bases, using as much of each vegetables as you like.

  • Fluid fuel:

Cucumber, lettuce, celery, chopped apple and a few slices of pear.

  • Quick cleanse:

Asparagus, cherry tomatoes and yellow peppers on a bed of alfalfa.

  • Steamed and simple:

Steamed cabbage, carrot, mushrooms, asparagus and mangetout.

  • Sunshine salad:

Watercress, carrot, beetroot and pink grapefruit.

Suggested evening meal menu

  • A cup of fresh vegetable soup
  • A 75g (3 oz) serving of one of the following to your chosen vegetable base: brown rice, jacket potato, new potatoes, spelt/brown rice or wholegrain pasta. Sweet potato, quinoa, rye or pumpernickel bread.

PLUS…..one of these four vegetable bases, each using as much of each vegetable as you like.

  • Detox salad:

watercress, celery, cucumber, cherry tomato, and artichoke hearts.

  • Cleansing coleslaw:

white cabbage, onion, grated carrot, sliced beetroot.

  • Roast energy:

grilled or oven-baked slices of red or yellow pepper, aubergine, onion and mushrooms.

  • Steamed and simple:

steamed carrot, mangetout, cauliflower, spinach and asparagus.

Fitness Is An Attitude of Mind

Fitness is an attitude of mind; I believe “Age is mind over Matter” and if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter!  Ageing is inevitable, a depressing thought and nothing we can do about it, or is there? No, we can’t add years to life but we can add “life” to the years we have!  Maintaining good health enables us to pursue ambitions, hopes and dreams with many older people continuing to lead interesting lives.  Feeling well helps us enjoy the increase in longevity by giving us a sense of wellbeing, relaxation and confidence.

Being fit is being able to do the things you want to do, when you want to do them.  Maintaining fitness should be a necessity of life, not an option! People who get it right may experience a decrease of some physical ability in their 60’s whilst others not at all! Many individuals enter advanced old age still performing at the level of younger adults.

Pensioners now outnumber children for the first time in British history. “Grey power” is growing and without the social and economic restrictions of the past, have the opportunity to travel, make new relationships or continue with further education, irrespective of age, gender, colour, class or creed. So youth had better start realising that there is life after sixty!

Ageing and inability is not the same thing, trouble is today we use our brain instead of our brawn, to the detriment of our physical wellbeing. We sit around too much in work and home, with heart disease, joint problems, osteoporosis and digestive disorders the end results. We need to get out of the habit of disguising physical and some mental problems as “just old age creeping on”.

Recent research by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that just 10 minutes brisk walking also improves one’s mental state by increasing self-esteem and reducing stress and anxiety. It concluded that people who regularly exercise have a 20 – 30% lower risk of depression and dementia. When we’re active chemicals called endorphins are released giving us the “feel good” factor.

Wellbeing is not just about the Body, it’s about the Mind and Spirit too. Being socially active can help reduce feelings of loneliness, anxiety, stress and worry.  So get out there, and get chatting. Talking through personal worries with others can half a problem, or at least put it into perspective!

Question 1

Sometimes I find myself falling asleep at say 20:00 and sleeping straight through till 07:00. After waking up I often feel as if I haven’t slept at all. My husband says I should just let myself sleep, but surely sleeping for so long cannot be good for you? I usually force myself to stay awake until 23:00 when I feel it’s acceptable to go to bed. Is there a natural way to help me stay awake? I have tried coffee.

Lucinda O’Brien, Kent

Answer 1

You think this is a problem? Well I say “who could be so lucky”; most of us would love the ability to sleep so well and for so long. According to the NHS most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night and you can set a regular bedtime schedule by working out what time you need to wake up. It would appear that your body needs those 9 hours!

Most people will envy you, winding down is a critical stage in preparing for bed and you would appear to be an expert! Personally I find that writing my “to do” list for the next day organises my thoughts.  It clears my mind and a few relaxation yoga type stretches helps relax my muscles. Exercising vigorously has the opposite effect.

For some a favourite way of relaxing is taking a warm bath (not hot), which helps the body reach a temperature that’s ideal for rest. Reading a book, listening to the radio, or gentle hypnotic music and sound effects will calm and relax others.

So Lucinda enjoy your sleep and appreciate just how lucky you are!

.Question 2

Recently I have noticed that my hands have become awfully dry and are peeling. I don’t use moisturizer as I have never had this problem before. Due to my job I have to wash my hands several times a day with antibacterial scrub and hot water. The peeling is rather embarrassing. Can you advise any solution?

Emma Hammerfield, Sutherland

 Answer 2

Emma you don’t say what your job is, but friends of mine in food preparation, hairdressing and nursing complain of dermatitis.  Avoid contact with detergents and other strong cleansing agents or use plastic gloves. Don’t apply hair lotion, hair cream or hair dye, or peel or squeeze oranges, lemons or grapefruit with bare hands. Wear gloves for chopping raw food, especially onions, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes and raw chicken.  Avoid direct contact with metal, wax, shoe, floor, furniture and window polishes and be careful not to get solvents such as white spirit, petrol, trichloroethylene, turpentine and thinners on your skin.

To speed healing wash hands in luke warm water and a gentle skin cleanser without perfume or tar. Best to avoid soap, use soap substitutes instead.  Rinse hands thoroughly under running water and dry carefully with a clean towel, especially between the fingers. Avoid wearing rings, but if you do, don’t wash with soap as it collects behind the ring and irritates the skin.  Apply plenty of moisturizer (emollient) cream after washing hands.

Rubber can cause eczema/dermatitis, so if you wear rubber gloves, put cotton ones inside them. If water gets inside take glove off straightaway, rinse and dry it. Don’t wear gloves for more than 15-20 minutes (they get sweaty) so having a couple of pairs on the go helps.

Remember Emma, even it seems completely healed, your hands are still at risk of dermatitis for at least 4 or 5 months. So keep protecting them and using your moisturizer which forms a layer over your skin helping protect it against irritating substances that might cause your dermatitis to flare again.

Gardening Is Good For Your Health

We certainly feel like we’ve put in a good day’s work, after gardening for hours on end. But is gardening really considered good exercise? For the most part, yes. According to the University of Virginia, gardening rates up there with other moderate to strenuous forms of exercise, like walking and bicycling. It all depends on what gardening task you are doing and for how long. Like any other form of exercise, you have to be active for at least 30 minutes for there to be a benefit.

What Makes Gardening Good Exercise?

While enjoying yourself in the garden, you are also working all the major muscle groups: legs, buttocks, arms, shoulders, neck, back and abdomen. Gardening tasks that use these muscles build strength and burn calories.

Besides the exertion involved, gardening has other pluses that make it a good form of exercise and calorie burning. There can be a great deal of stretching involved with gardening, like reaching for weeds or tall branches, bending to plant and extending a rake. Lifting bags of mulch, pushing wheelbarrows and shoveling all provide resistance training similar to weight lifting, which leads to healthier bones and joints. Yet while doing all this, there is minimal jarring and stress on the body, unlike aerobics or jogging.

Losing Weight by Gardening

Losing weight requires you to burn more calories than you consume and so the amount of weight you’ll lose gardening depends on several factors including your size and the task you are performing.

Some general examples from Iowa State University, below, show how some of the more strenuous gardening tasks can really burn calories.

  • Digging Holes – Men: 197 calories, Women: 150 calories
  • Planting – Men: 177 calories, Women: 135 calories
  • Weeding – Men: 157 calories, Women: 156 calories

The National Institute of Health lists gardening for 30 – 45 minutes in its recommended activities for moderate levels of exercise to combat obesity, along with biking 5 miles in 30 minutes and walking 2 miles in the same time.

More Health Benefits of Gardening

Research is showing that gardening for just 30 minutes daily will help:

  • Increase flexibility
  • Strengthen joints
  • Decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Lower your risk for diabetes
  • Slow osteoporosis

Getting the Most Exercise out of Gardening

It takes at least 30 minutes of exercise several days a week, to really receive any health benefits from gardening. However researchers are now saying that you can break that 30 minutes up into shorter active periods throughout the day. As long as each activity lasts at least 8 minutes and is of moderate intensity, when you total them up to 30 minutes per day, you’ll reap the same rewards as if you had been gardening for a half hour straight. So you can do a little weeding in the cool of the morning and go back out to the garden in the evening to prune and trim.

Start slowly, if you’re not used to the exertion. Lift properly, by using your legs. Vary your tasks and your movements and make use of the major muscle groups, to get the most benefit. Aches and pains aren’t necessarily a sign of a good workout. Your muscles may feel tired, but they shouldn’t hurt unless you’re using muscles you haven’t worked in a while or you’re using them wrong.

Gardening isn’t usually enough exercise to forsake your daily walk or swim, but it’s nice to know those tired muscles you feel after turning the compost are actually something good you did for your body and your health. As with any other form of exercise, check with your doctor first, if you’re not used to strenuous exercise. Make sure you incorporate a little stretching before and after gardening and take things slowly in extreme heat. We do garden for the pleasure, after all. Getting in shape and losing weight are just the icing on the cake.

Sources:

Have Wheels Will Travel

“Have wheels – will travel”.   Cycling is the third most popular recreational activity in the UK with an estimated 3.1 million people riding a bicycle each month.  In the 1980’s the Mountain Bike with its sturdy frame and wide tyres for added stability and durability was introduced, and cycling surged in popularity.   That was when, as an adult I became the proud owner of a bike, and I still love cycling today!  Over the years I have “acquired” other friends cast off bikes, and now my garage houses enough bikes to fit my large or smaller grandchildren and visitors.  We have great fun cycling and exploring the riverside area where I live.

The success of team UK cyclists in the 2012 Olympic Games had a good effect on cycling and highlighted the completive nature of the sport.  The organisers of UK Cycling Events have reported a huge uptake in mass participation events and charity rides since the Olympics.  However the majority of those who re-enter the world of cycling are more likely to do gentler family and social rides than long distance sporting events.  A major retailer reports that vintage style ladies’ bikes designed by Victoria Pendleton, not sporty bikes, are among its best sellers indicating that people are getting on bikes for non-competitive reasons.

As a form of exercise, cycling has broad appeal and most of us from toddlers to pensioners, the able-bodied or people with disabilities can all enjoy cycling.  Cycling is an opportunity to discover places unseen from a car such as woodland paths, unmade tracks, riverside tow paths, and just sometimes – a mountain!  The health benefits are enormous, and all from just pushing pedals around!

Cycling is suitable for people of all ages and abilities, including those with back problems or weight problems, since the body weight is supported during exercise.   It builds stronger leg muscles, (quadriceps and calf), back, arm, neck muscles, it also strengthens our hearts, expands our lungs and improves our circulation.   Unless you are being competitive, cycling is a low-impact type of exercise, so it’s easier on your joints than running or other high-impact aerobic activities.

But it still helps you get into shape!   For example, an hour’s ride will burn up 400 – 650 calories, will tone your legs and bottom and keep you looking and feeling good. If  you ride up hills or off-road, you’ll also work your upper body, and cycling hard and fast is superb aerobic exercise  resulting in a fitter heart and more efficient lungs. The best way to build your cardiovascular fitness on your bike is to ride for at least 150 minutes every week.  To achieve this you could cycle to work a few days during the week or do a couple of shorter rides, with a longer ride at the weekend.  You’ll soon feel the benefits.

Nowadays thousands, young and old don “go faster stripes” to race off on their bikes at high speed in search of fitness and fun.  However we need to keep safe and wearing a cycling helmet is essential, to prevent head injuries if we fall off.  Don’t be tempted to buy a second-hand helmet, it may be damaged and not protect you properly. You should replace your helmet every five years.  When buying check that the helmet is:

  • Marked with the British Standard (BS EN 1078:1997)
  • Fits snugly, positioned squarely on your head
  • Sits just above your eyebrows (not tilted back or tipped forwards)
  • Fastens securely by straps (not twisted) with just enough room for two fingers between chin and strap.

If you intend to cycle at night it’s compulsory to have a white front light, a red rear light and a red rear reflector.   For your further safety you should have amber/yellow pedal reflectors front and back on each pedal.

With these safety precautions in place it’s time to go! If possible miss out cycling on busy roads with dirty vehicles belching out fumes, or if you have to take that particular route, wear a mask.  Whatever your speed a spin outdoors has the added advantage of fresh air, so no matter what the weather is like, get up and go out!  If it’s wet and windy, dress in suitable clothing, don your helmet and be off, the fresh air will clear your head and immediately life begins to look brighter.

Cycling can lift our spirits and will help us put our problems into perspective.  The freedom we feel with the wind blowing on our cheeks, gives us time to identify solutions and put our lives back on track. Cycling is one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into your daily routine because it’s also a form of transport.  It saves you money and is good for the environment.  So don’t delay “on yer bike” and get those wheels turning!

 

Enjoy the Festive Season!

Most of us love the Festive Season but many of us are tempted to enjoy it that little bit too much, and all too often come the New Year regret our over indulgence, and despair of our excess weight and that feeling of sluggishness. I’ve learnt the hard way that this can be avoided by planning ahead in order to prepare my body for those delicious festive meals, full of calories that pile on the pounds.

One trick is by consciously watching what I eat in the run up to Christmas by cutting down BEFORE the festivities begin. By doing this I am able to enjoy the festive food and drinks on the day – guilt free. During the two weeks prior to the big day I eat sparingly, less bread, sugary foods and drinks, and I concentrate more on just protein and fibre to fill me up. Come party time I’m more able to enjoy the sweet and festive treats without putting on excess weight.

Another trick is to keep myself physically active. This I find is easy to do, what with all the pre Christmas preparations, the buying of gifts, cooking food and general running around visiting family and friends. Luckily all this frantic activity helps me to burn up excess calories. With festive work parties and friendly gatherings occurring at this time of the year another trick concerns party food. Select the snack foods on offer by picking foods that are bright in colour, and small in portion. Better to sample bite size food offerings, which often include sticks of vegetables and fruits, than to eat a large slice of pie loaded with calories.

During the holiday season many of us will be on the move, aboard trains, planes or in the car driving long distances visiting friends and families. For the journeys I make up and down the country I find it best to pack a healthy snack, rather than be tempted to eat rubbish fast food in the buffet car or motorway cafes. Another important tip is to take time when you eat, this allows your brain to keep up with your fork and can prevent you from overeating! Take at least twenty minutes to complete your meal because this is how long it takes for your brain to recognise that your stomach is full!

Alcohol can increase your appetite and your calorie consumption, consequently you’re less likely to do something active the day after partying if you’ve a hangover. So discipline yourself and don’t drink to excess. Instead use your time in the Christmas break to do something physically active and healthy every day for your health’s sake. It’s a holiday period, so make it special by going for an invigorating a walk or take younger members of the family or friends for a swim or a bike ride. If you do have a gym membership then make the most of it now, because it’s more likely to be nice and quiet with many members away elsewhere.

We all like socialising in the festive season and I’m certainly not one to dissuade you! I’m by no means a “party pooper”. I love a drink or two of white wine but am aware of the implications of partying too much! Another of my tips is to make a conscious effort to drink plenty of water throughout the day and in-between alcoholic drinks. By staying hydrated you will help your body counter the dehydrating affects of both travel and alcohol. Water can also help satiate your appetite because thirst is often mistaken for hunger. And remember alcohol is also fattening. So if you plan to booze, don’t plan to lose… especially your figure! All alcoholic beverages are loaded with calories so try to limit your intake if you want to maintain your jean size! And on a more serious note, alcohol inhibits the breakdown of fat and reduces the absorption of nutrients from your food. Disorders of the eyes, skin, joints, heart, digestion and some cancers are a few health problems linked to alcohol abuse.

In order to avoid hangovers “line” your stomach before a drinking session by eating foods such as milk, bread, potato, and pasta which all take a time to digest. Most of us enjoy a party, whether it’s with workmates or the family, but my advice is…don’t mix drinks, do pace yourself, and prevent dehydration by drinking that water alongside your alcohol. Discover the cleansing effect the water has on your body by drinking a glass or two before going to bed and make sure you consume more liquid than the urine you pass out. OK, you will need to pop out to the loo during the night but you will avoid that morning hangover! After the excesses of the Festive Season I like to give myself and my liver a break, in fact I try to avoid it altogether and give up alcohol for a month. By doing this I hope my liver will benefit, and I know from experience that it makes the whole of me perk up, physically and psychologically.

And one final tip…do the best you can… but do remember to enjoy yourself!
I wish you all a Happy Festive Season and a Healthy New Year!

New Year Resolutions

With the Festive Season and its excesses well behind us it’s time to focus on New Year 2015 by looking at simple ways to help us look good and feel great. So what are your New Year Resolutions? Well, the 20th century poet and pacifist Edith Lovejoy Pierce famously said of the year ahead…. “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

I love that thought and my New Year resolution is to take the opportunity to continue keeping both mentally and physically fit. I recognize all too well that this is the best opportunity I have to help myself stay independent in my older age! But as the years slip by I also realize that it’s not always easy with my busy lifestyle to stick to my New Year resolution of routines and regimes. I am for ever on the road travelling with my work, or visiting my family who are “up North” and “down South”, and I’m often working on cruise ships or abroad.

So I have to integrate my physical activities and watch what I eat, wherever I am. Consequently I need to be disciplined to take the opportunity of helping myself keep fit anytime, anywhere, and it can prove difficult. There are always temptations that send us off track or crack our good intentions, and in my case my willpower can be cracked and I can be sent off track when I am faced with the temptations of dark chocolate or a glass of Champagne!

So to help me keep well and to I ensure I have the necessary RDA (recommended daily allowance) of vitamins and minerals, whenever possible I take the opportunity to eat a varied and well-balanced diet. This includes more of the 3 F’s….fresh food, fish plus fruit and vegetables, and less of the 3 S’s.…salt, sugar and saturated fats. Should I not be able to eat my varied diet to boost my wellbeing, because of constantly being on the road, I’ll include a daily supplement such as a multivitamin tablet to help keep my skin, hair, teeth and nails in good condition.

Every day I take 2 Calcium plus vitamin D tablets, to help maintain my strong bones and prevent the fragile bone disease osteoporosis. The fact is that 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of poor bone health. Many people of my age also take glucosamine to help their joints keep moving!
This year my simple New Year resolutions include

• Health
Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to help ward off colds and flu. “Juicing” the fruits and vegetables makes a pleasant and palatable alternative, ensuring a high intake of protective vitamins. Give your immune system an extra boost, by taking Echinacea in tincture form diluted in water, or a daily capsule.

• Body
Winter skin exposed to wind, cold, UV radiation and the effects of central heating results in skin dehydration and loss of softness and flexibility. So it’s time to replenish and pamper! I massage my body daily with a generous helping of moisturising skin cream, and exfoliate once a week with a body salt scrub.

• Hands and Feet
Skin on our hands and feet become especially dry and vulnerable in winter, leading to irritation, sores and redness. I keep my skin supple and healthy by preventing water and lipids escaping (which causes chapping) by using lots of nourishing hand cream rich in Vitamin A.

• Lips
Our lips are particularly prone to dryness, and more so as we age. Delicate thin, chapped skin is no barrier to bacteria and viruses. Rough, flaky, dry lips look old, and are difficult to make up. So I apply a nourishing lip protection, either on its own or under my lipstick.

• Shape
It’s essential to keep active, and even though it is cold outside we should all aim to take a brisk half-hour walk, 3 times a week. I like to swim, cycle, jog, or garden whenever possible, and find that being active makes my body and complexion glow.

• Social
My final New Year resolution is to contact that old friend, neighbour or family member I’ve been meaning to catch up with for the past year! Maybe you too could take the opportunity to visit someone less fortunate than yourself, or in poor health? If you do, make sure to give them a big smile, it’ll cost you nothing. But your smile could make New Year 2015 feel a whole lot richer for them!

Be Happy, Retirement – Dream or Nightmare

Whoever you are, whatever your age the fact is that we are all getting a little bit older every day and one day may think about “retiring”. Rules of retirement changed in October 2011 when the UK’s default retirement age of 65 was finally abolished stopping employers from compulsorily retiring workers once they reached the age 65. Great news for many 65 year olds, who as a result can now continue in most forms of employment should they so chose.

Traditionally the younger generation assumed older people would retire between 55 and 65 and would then need to be looked after because ageing is an illness! The assumption was that we older folk were incapable of changing our lifestyle, our opinions, our outlook, our religion, or our politics because of our age! Ageism had presumed we’d come to the end of our productive life and therefore we’d be a burden (and a growing burden) on society and the health service.

Potentially this is a big problem for future generations, but those of us not born yesterday realise that forcing people to retire was wasting knowledge, experience and more importantly was leading to early decline for older people who felt they were being thrown onto the rubbish heap. So by shattering the retirement myth of rocking chair and slippers it now means we have the choice of continuing to work on – whether for financial reasons, or because we feel we can, or we want to. Alternatively we can still choose to take retirement and to use that time pursuing our hobbies or fulfilling lifelong dreams.

However, recent figures from AgeUK worryingly show that 3 million people in the UK are aged 80 or over, and amazingly for the first time in history there are 11 million people over the age of 65. This means that nearly 14.7 million people in the UK are 60 or over and even more astonishing there are now more pensioners than there are children under the age of 16.

As an older person I can assure the younger generation that many of us, whether we have chosen to retire or continue working have much to offer, not least of which is experience. Like many of my contemporaries I still work, travelling the world as a fitness guru or nearer to home as a broadcaster and journalist, communicating and encouraging others of “retirement” age on how to continue being a useful, fit and happy member of society.

And it’s fitness that can turn our later years of either work or retirement into a dream. Being healthy can alleviate the increasing strain on the health services which our younger people will have to work hard to fund in the future. Recent research undertaken by Stannah, the stair lift people, revealed that 55+ year olds are amongst the worst in Great Britain for taking their health and fitness seriously. The number of people who do exercise on a regular basis equate to almost half that of their 25-34 year old counterparts. A lack of fitness could turn those later years into a nightmare for this older age group.

The online survey indicated that 98% of those over the age of 55 do understand the purpose of a healthy lifestyle, and that nearly one in five of them have already been medically advised to take regular exercise! The excuses for not doing so range from lack of time, to preferring to exercise at home or outside of the gym, since the fitness industry appears to be designed for a younger audience with minimal options available for those who prefer to exercise at their own pace.

Some of this group wrongly consider they are too old or think that it’s too late to worry about a healthy lifestyle. Others believe that hobbies such as walking or golf are ample exercise, which at least that’s a positive start! But I believe that keeping fit should be available to everyone, no matter what age or fitness ability, and for that reason I created a DVD with home exercises specifically for the over 55’s giving them the convenience and confidence to exercise whenever they like.

Maturing is perceived to be an advantage for many things, wine and cheese come to mind, so let’s apply the same logic to ourselves! Let’s learn to nurture and take care of ourselves, and ideally from an early age. Because trust me you’re never too old or too young to start! Staying active over the years is the first step to helping maintain mobility and independence for all of us. Your wellbeing and fitness will improve your quality of life and could make your later life and eventually your retirement less of a myth and more of a dream!

Please note “EASIFIT” DVD available from Amazon