Why being active from a young age has made old(er) age so much better

I have to cast my mind back a little further than you I’d imagine but I still remember talking to people about my incredible constitution as a young man.

‘I can eat anything I like,’ I would say rather boastfully. ‘Never put any weight on.’

Then I turned 32 and my waist started to grow in inches at roughly the same pace as the years piled on.

It was at 37 years old with a 36 inch waist (I still bought trousers with a 34inch waist mind you for ridiculous self denial reasons) when I decided that perhaps I wasn’t a wiry rake with Peter Pan powers of waistline immortality.

At that age it was a lot simpler to lose a few pounds then it is now but still not simply a case of eating less potatoes and more green veg. I did start to eat a little better but also made sure I was active as often as possible. As a working man who loved to work it wasn’t always easy but even a half an hour walk shoehorned into the day can make a huge difference over time.

Now in my 60s I am reaping the rewards, still able to walk long distances, play tennis, play golf, ride a bike and keep up with my grandchildren – just about!

The science is very simple. Be active and you reduce risks of everything from heart attacks to type 2 diabetes, you recover much faster from an operation or illness and you feel happier. There simply are no negatives.

It’s also important to avoid sitting still for too long (tough for a deskbound job I know) but some companies have started to enforce time away from the screen several times a day to keep staff fitter.

New Year is, as we all know, the perfect time to make changes, so make a couple of small ones and you’ll set your body off on a very different and much happier path.

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