TV’s Green Goddess Diana Moran (pictured) -who’s 77!- explains how to get fit look fab and feel 10 years younger
One of the big misconceptions about us older people is that we live in the past. It’s just not true. However, it might be said that – with the exception of financial matters – not enough of us think ahead.
OK, so if you have children you quickly work out how to leave as much to the family as you can without the taxman pinching the lion’s share. But what about planning your future health?
A few decades ago, older people were advised to avoid physical activity to reduce the risk of injury. This was simply keeping people alive to a miserable advanced old age, and condemning those in their 90s to years of disability and dependence. Dreadful!
The current medical thinking is quite the reverse. Increasing the frequency and intensity of exercise will not only reduce the risk of an early death, it will also:
? Keep you fitter and healthier for longer and reduce the time you will be dependent on others;
? Help you look and feel decades younger right away, next month and the months after that.
How? Well, this exercise plan – taken from our new book, Sod Sitting, Get Moving – is the perfect place to start.
Detailed exclusively here is an ultra- simple regime that doesn’t involve a gym or any fancy equipment or clothes.
We see it as a call to arms, a bonfire of the slippers! It’s for those of us who are later on in life; those who haven’t exercised in a while; and those who can’t do the type of exercise they used to.
It also involves a range of exercises specially designed for the less active to perform in the comfort of the living room, and even sitting down if you have to.
The fitness industry seems devoted to bright young things in tight Lycra doing endurance races and jumping through fire, neglecting our slightly more gentle needs.
But that doesn’t matter. Our message is: Get up, get active, get fitter, and feel fabulous by following our essential guide to staying in top shape in your 60s, 70s and beyond. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get moving… now!
Detailed exclusively here is an ultra- simple regime that doesn’t involve a gym or any fancy equipment or clothes
The fitness industry seems devoted to bright young things in tight Lycra doing endurance races and jumping through fire, neglecting our slightly more gentle needs. Ms Moran is pictured in the 1990s
This programme will encourage you to get off that chair and start your new life: a life of moving, not sitting. Do this in the morning to wake up your body, or take a break from your chores and fit these five exercises in during the day
STOP MAKING EXCUSES
Here are the most common reasons people give for not exercising enough, and our solutions to the problem.
1. I don’t have the time
We understand that but you owe it to yourself to manage your time better so as to give a little bit more to yourself. Just ten minutes every morning will give you enough time to do one of our programmes. Add ten more minutes of brisk walking, once, or better still, twice, or (best) three times a day. Who doesn’t have 20 minutes to spare?
2. I can’t afford it
Although we recommend weights and resistance bands or classes in techniques such as Pilates, these are optional extras. The exercises here can be done without spending money, or by using a big bag of flour or sugar, or bottles of water as a weight (and really, it’s a much better use for a bag of sugar than eating it!).
3. I have not enjoyed exercise in the past
You are not doing physical activity simply because it is fun (although it can be). Think of it as training for the decades to come. Athletes train for the Olympics; you are in training for your 70s, 80s or 90s. We also recommend you exercise with a friend or two – even when at home. They will feel the same as you, so you can all be a bit supportive, and a bit competitive.
4. I am too busy helping other people
We know how much people in our age group do for grandchildren, children, parents, partners, neighbours and the community, but they need you to look after yourself too. In addition, it will help your children and grandchildren considerably if you are still active and independent, so getting fitter is part of looking after those you love and care for.
This routine is designed to help improve your ability to move muscles and joints – a good place to start before moving on to a strength routine
A life spent sitting, at a desk or on a sofa, is common in our modern world – and it leaves its mark on all of our backs if we are not careful. Improving posture will help reduce risk of back ache and potential for injury when you are performing strength or cardiovascular exercise
FIGHT THE AGEING PROCESS
The image of life from 60 onwards being dominated by disease, disability, dependency and dementia is wrong.
Get your copy of Sod Sitting and get Moving for the special price of £9.09 from mailbookshop.co.uk
OK, so you may be a bit slower than you were because of a dodgy hip, you may be a bit more forgetful or you may have a more serious condition, such as arthritis or diabetes, but it is important to remember that we (both of us are in our 70s) are a key group in society.
If things go wrong, some people, unfortunately including some doctors, say ‘It’s your age’ or, even worse, ‘What else do you expect at your age?’
These statements are examples of ageism, and although we have heard less about this than racism or sexism, it is moving up the agenda. Ageism is a prejudice.
Such statements are based on the false belief that all health problems are due to the ageing process. This belief is widespread and influences many older people. We’ve spent our lives studying, preventing and even evangelising about the benefits of exercise and the good it can do for us.
And we know that ageing by itself is not a major cause of disability until your 90s. Many of the problems that are assumed to be due to ageing are actually due to loss of fitness and preventable disease. It is a fact that, despite what you might think, fitness can be regained after the age of 60.
THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE ARE IMPROVING THE FIVE S’s
1. Stamina – Gives you the energy to keep going.
2. Strength – Helps to build strong muscles to tackle any necessary work.
3. Suppleness – Encourages flexibility, letting you bend and stretch.
4. Skill – Being active encourages co-ordination of body and mind.
5. Shape – Exercising expends energy (burns calories) helping to control your weight, which is an important bonus.
‘Use it or lose it’ applies to both body and mind. I’m a firm believer in exercising the mind as well as the body in order to function efficiently. Being active can transform your lifestyle, so down with sofas and up with stairs! Remember, age is mind over matter – if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. Be happy and be healthy, whatever your age.
Stretching your muscles is just as important as strengthening them. Tight muscles in the back and legs can cause pain, and tension in the muscles also affects blood circulation
A FEW WORDS ON FOOD
We don’t advocate a ‘diet’ in the slimming sense of the word. But as we get older, our nutritional needs and dietary requirements change. This is due mainly to the fact that we are less active than we used to be and do need fewer calories.
Metabolic syndrome – a combination of being overweight, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol – is an increasingly common problem among people in their 60s, 70s and beyond, affecting one in four. But the good news is that it can be changed with dietary tweaks and exercise.
The average man over 60 needs 2,000 calories a day, the average woman about 1,600. However, opting for a slightly lower-calorie intake does not mean you need to go on a diet or start cutting out all your favourite foods completely.
With age, your ability to pump oxygenated blood around the body can degenerate. Flexible muscles are able to relax, which improves circulation – so don’t forget to stretch
YOU DON’T NEED TO CUT OUT BUTTER
Gone are the days of extremely low-fat diets. Fat in food provides essential omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which keep your heart healthy, and the fat-soluble Vitamins A, D and E, which are good for your skin, bones and overall wellbeing.
Fat should make up 20 to 35 per cent of your daily calorie intake
Fat should make up 20 to 35 per cent of your daily calorie intake, which, for a man on a 2,000-calorie diet is 44g to 78g a day (about four tablespoons of olive oil).
Choose ‘good’ monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and rapeseed oil. You can still eat butter, but in moderation – spread it thinly on your toast.
Recent findings have debunked old science that protein requirement decreases with age, and it is now recommended that people over 60 should aim to eat more protein than recommended for younger adults (which is 50g a day). Try to get it from animal (meat, fish, eggs, dairy) and plant sources (rice, tofu, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds).
As for fruit and vegetables, followers of the Mediterranean diet – proven to promote lifelong good health – average seven or more portions per day, so as you get older, aim to go beyond ‘five-a-day’.
The key message is: adjust your calorie intake according to your age and level of activity, and reduce intake of sugar, salt, processed foods at any age.
Finally, eat less red meat – about four times a month – and challenge yourself to try to eat more fish and chicken.
Extracted from Sod Sitting, Get Moving! Getting Active In Your 60s, 70s And Beyond, by Diana Moran and Muir Gray, published by Green Tree at £12.99. © 2017 Diana Moran Muir Gray
Get off the sofa! And buy the book that will change your life…
Get your copy of Sod Sitting, Get Moving! Getting Active In Your 60s, 70s And Beyond, by Diana Moran and Muir Gray, for the special price of £9.09 (30 per cent discount) until March 26. Order at www.mailbookshop.co.uk or call 0844 571 0640 – pp is free on orders over £15.