Keeping Fit

In later life there’s a price to be paid for not keeping fit.

It ranges from reducing your ability to live life to the full to actually taking that life away.

The list of conditions and illnesses that can result from ignoring our fitness level include heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. But keeping fit is a way to help prevent most of these life-threatening conditions.

More than that, recent research has identified that one way to help prevent dementia is by having good health. This is because high cholesterol and blood pressure can reduce the circulation of nutrients from our food and oxygen to the brain which, if allowed to persist, can have a significant effect on our mental function.

  • Eating Healthily

    There’s more to taking care over what you eat than keeping your weight under control. The right diet will also promote your health.

    Keeping dementia at bay: Some studies have shown a Mediterranean diet, rich in green leafy vegetables, oily fish and the occasional glass of red wine, can lower our chances of developing dementia by up to 40 per cent.

    Reducing cholesterol: You can reduce the artery-clogging impact of cholesterol with a diet that’s low fat diet and includes more fibre – particularly foods with soluble fibre such as fruit and vegetables, porridge oats, lentils, beans and nuts. Though it’s easy on the nuts if you’re trying to lose weight.

    Fruit and vegetables also contain valuable antioxidants, which are needed to stop cholesterol creating fatty plaques that ‘fur up’ our arteries.

  • Strengthening Your Bones

    Bones are a living organ that completely renew and replace themselves every 7 – 10 years. By the age of 30 we achieve our peak bone mass. From around 40 our bone mass gradually becomes less. This can lead to Osteoporosis – the weakening of our bones to where they break more easily. Though mostly a worry for women due to the menopause, men can suffer too.

    If there’s a history of osteoporosis in your family, you do need to take preventative action. Breaking bones as we get older is no joke. But good news is we can do a lot to protect the health and strength of our bones.

    This includes –

    Exercise: Weight bearing exercise such as brisk walking and jogging, dancing and aerobics, skipping or jumping on a small trampoline. But if you already have osteoporosis don’t do activities where both your feet are off the ground at the same time – such as jogging or running. Also, any exercise that challenges your muscles such as using light weights or a resistance band.

    Aerobic exercise reduces our levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and increases our ‘good’ cholesterol and this is perfect for our health.

    Calcium and vitamins: Calcium and vitamins D and K are important for bone health. This is why you should consume 450ml (3/4 pint) of milk every day. Calcium is also found in green leafy vegetables and canned fish, particularly sardines.

    Taking 500-2000mg calcium per day can reduce post-menopausal bone loss. Calcium is found in dairy products – milk, yogurts and cheese. And the calcium level does not reduce in low fat versions of these foods.

    Sunlight is our main source of vitamin D, which is necessary to help the absorption and retention of the calcium in our diet. Other sources of vitamin D are from oily fish, cod liver oil, dairy products and liver. Vitamin K can be found in green leafy vegetables, soya beans, olive oil and margarine.

    If you’re concerned about your weight and so don’t want to eat olive oil, margarine and cod liver oil, a daily supplement will be your best option.

  • Dealing With Your Joints

    When we are younger our joints move easily because the synovial fluid that ‘oils’ them is plentiful. With age, the synovial fluid is less plentiful and we start to know all about it – like when getting out of a car after a long journey.

    Another cause of joint pain can be the degeneration of the cartilage between joints which can lead to bone rubbing against bone.

    So what can we do to help prevent this happening to us?

    Losing weight: Carrying excess ‘baggage’ everywhere puts enormous strain on joints, with a real risk of increased and earlier damage to them.

    Exercise: Exercise and activities can significantly and effectively strengthen our muscles and ligaments which hold our skeleton together. Going to the gym, attending a fitness class, exercising to a fitness DVD or playing sport will help maintain muscle strength and keep you and your bones and joints fitter for longer.

    Diet: Choose a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D and K for the benefit of your joints and bones. And make sure you spend time in the sunshine to boost your vitamin D consumption.

    If you suffer from inflammation in the joints, try eating foods rich in omega 3 oils – or take a supplement – to reduce the inflammation. Glucosamine has been widely recognised as a help in keeping cartilage healthy and reducing joint damage, as well as improving pain and stiffness from arthritis.

    The latest in nutritional supplements to help joints is Litozin. Unlike other over-the-counter joint pain relievers, this uses just one ingredient – Rosehip powder. The Rosehip in Litozin is dried via a patented process and is said to have high levels of GOPO (Glycoside of Monoglyscerol and Diglycerol).

    Studies have shown this clinically tested ingredient to reduce joint pain more successfully than other standard pain killers. One study showed it reduced pain in 8 out of 10 users in just three weeks. It has no known side effects and, being 100 per cent natural, and is suitable for vegetarians. It is sold by Lanes Health and available in some high street stores.

Rosemary Conley CBE DL

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The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years"

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife