Sunday 23 October 2016

You're never too old to be fit and it's never too late to start, says Pat Henry

The fitness expert outlines how staying active is key to staving off serious health problems and increasing energy levels later on in life

Pat Henry

Published 27/10/2015 | 02:30

Pat Henry explains how exercise can drastically reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan.
Pat Henry explains how exercise can drastically reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan.
Light weights can be beneficial
Cycling is perfect for staying active

For years people have been claiming to be too old for exercise, even when they are in their 40s. This is absolute nonsense. Many of the fittest people I know are in their 60s and 70s and are very much exercising.

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Age should be no barrier when striving for improvement. The benefits outweigh any small effort you put in to feel fit, move freely, have lots of energy and an overall sense of wellness. It would be hard to put a price on the value of your good health.

Exercise, whether it be weight training, dancing, cycling, or golf, cuts the rate of heart disease.

The more you move briskly during exercise, the lower the risk. Inactivity increases the risk of coronary disease by 80pc, which is frightening.

A lot has been said of the benefits of staying active, with health practitioners claiming amazing results with breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Even if half of these claims are correct, it's still 50pc better than doing nothing.

Certain illnesses have been dramatically reduced with scientific backing to prove the results.

For example, high blood pressure can be reduced by 50pc and exercise lowers existing blood pressure levels. Even a small amount of exercise will help to normalise blood pressure and reduce hypertension.

It won't solve the problem on its own - medication may still be required.

Exercise should be used in conjunction with any medication as advised by your physician.

There are many clients and friends who are in stage two of non-insulin related diabetes, which can be treated with diet and exercise.

Research has shown those over 60, which is about 30pc of the population, have high blood-sugar levels or Syndrome X/Insulin Resistance Syndrome.

The signs of this are a large pot belly, high blood pressure and high blood fats. Exercise cuts the risk of all these and by doing so cuts the risk of stroke.

Weight-bearing exercise combined with cardio exercise, like cycling, is the right formula.

For years people believed that exercise caused arthritis by putting pressure on the joints, but all the latest research shows it to be the opposite and symptoms can be drastically reduced, particularly osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoporosis or loss of bone density is a serious problem in post-menopausal women. It can lead to serious fractures. All exercise will help, particularly weight-bearing exercise with light dumbbells performed three times weekly for 30 minutes. It improves the absorption of calcium to the joints.Sometimes calcium and Vitamin D supplements are recommended, but natural ingredients are equally as effective - root vegetables, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, natural flax yoghurt and farmhouse cheese are also high in calcium. Natural light will give you Vitamin D.

More research has found that people over 50, particularly women, found that bone density improved in the hip and spine with three times weekly strength training over a year.

Exercise gives you more stability and balance especially when muscles get stronger and, in general, if you don't trip over, you don't fracture your hip or back.

It's simple: exercise equals better balance, strength and confidence when moving, cutting the risk of injury and avoiding muscle wastage.

As we get older, the need for good food is probably more important than when we were 30.

We need protein each day, but many elderly people eat poorly. It can be the cost of food or bad habits like living on biscuits, sandwiches and tea.

As we age, our appetite can decrease especially if inactive. We can simply get out of the habit of eating well. It doesn't have to be expensive. For example, combine yoghurt and porridge, beans or peas on brown bread, bananas on brown bread. These simple combinations make complete proteins and they are also cost effective and help feed the muscles, especially when you exercise.

Just try and eat good wholesome food. Keep it simple. You don't need any miracle foods, just good home cooking, as natural as you can make it and include fish, chicken and beef if you can. You will notice the body getting firmer, skin and hair will also improve.

So let's get started by getting back into an exercise routine. If you have never trained before, start slowly and over the weeks you will notice a huge improvement in your health.

Exercise will increase the metabolism, which in turn will help digestion and elimination. Inactivity affects all organs of the body, including food being absorbed and eliminated. Studies have shown that the average person is clogged up with at least five meals or waste undigested in the intestines which are 30ft long.

Symptoms of clogging up are bloatedness, extended stomach, bad breath and body odour. As food is left undigested, it simply putrefies in the gut giving off a rancid odour, particularly meat protein which is harder to digest.

It takes an average of three to four hours to digest all food. But we eat by the clock, so more food is shovelled in on top of food already in the gut.

Elimination should take place at least a couple of hours after each meal. If not, waste simply accumulates which attracts bad bacteria in the gut. The solution is to eat food slowly and sit down when eating!

Avoid consuming liquids with food as the digestive enzymes which are meant to help break down foods in the intestines are diluted. Liquids with foods slow down the process.

Give food at least half an hour before ingesting liquid, so you don't need colonic irrigation to clear waste. If you increase the intake of soft pears or fresh pineapple each day, these will aid digestion and elimination.

To detox properly, it takes about two years of cleaning up your diet. The perfect state of health is when you open your mouth, a perfume odour is emitted. This means gut flora is in good health. The days of eating pizza and beer that was digested quickly and burned off when we were young may have gone and what you once could handle easily is now lodging on the tummy or hips, and the aches and pains that used to vanish overnight are now lasting a little longer.

You may feel you're losing the spring of life and slowing down. It's now time to fight back. We are not dead yet. Start a rejuvenation programme now. Set your goals and targets and keep moving.If we live to 70, it is said we spend 23 years asleep. So we must keep ahead of the posse. Get fit, get strong, and get healthy. We cannot afford to get sick.

* Read Pat Henry's health advice every week, only in Health and Living

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