How To Have A Healthy Old Age
WOMAN'S WEEKLY|October 26, 2021
A study has found chronic health issues are likely to start in middle age. Here’s how to help avoid them – and cope if they strike
Tanya Pearey.

Back pain

Almost a quarter of us (21%) have a bad back by our late 40s, according to a study from University College London. And problems only get worse as we age. But they needn’t. While the research found that many health issues start early, there are steps that we can take to prevent problems – whatever our age.

Keep moving It’s the key to both avoiding and easing a bad back, says leading NHS pain consultant Dr Deepak Ravindran. ‘Exercise reduces pain and builds supportive muscles to help prevention.’ Aim for 30 minutes’ moderate exercise, such as walking, swimming or Pilates, five times a week. If you suffer with back pain, consult a physiotherapist for specific exercises.

Watch your posture ‘Back pain is often a lifestyle problem,’ says physio Neil Velleman. ‘It’s related to how you use your back on a daily basis.’ Support your lower back when sitting, and move regularly – at least hourly.

Lift with care Engage your tummy muscles and bend your hips and knees, rather than your back. ‘Your legs (hips and knees) are built for pressure,’ says Neil. ‘Your back isn’t.’

Diabetes

This lifelong condition causes excessively high blood-sugar levels, but can be managed well if spotted early and treated, especially in the early prediabetes stage.

Eat well Include plenty of fresh fruit and veg, dairy foods or alternatives such as soya, plus high-fibre foods such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta, and protein from beans, pulses, fish, eggs and meat.

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