Simple daily habits to ignite your passion for writing/feed//feed/




courtesy dollarphoroclub a good cup of morning coffee
courtesy dollarphoroclub
a good cup of morning coffee

As I sit writing this post early in the morning a question springs to mind : can you teach an old dog new tricks? Continue reading “Simple daily habits to ignite your passion for writing/feed//feed/”

Why volunteering to serve others is good for you/feed/ 2016 logo
2016 logo

Volunteers’ Week this year has been stretched to run from the 1st -12th June.It is held annually in celebration of the work that many thousands of people in the UK put in freely to help in their free time with tasks,projects for the benefit of others in their community or country.
Continue reading “Why volunteering to serve others is good for you/feed/”

Why the way we breathe is so important to our health


Who says so?

It seems a great many people do. A current google search using a keyword such as “breathing” will produce many tens of millions of references, many pointing to advice and information, much of which is clear It and helpful in our daily lives. It is clearly an important subject.So why add to the many millions of words already swirling around the internet, and elsewhere in books and magazines? Some messages are so important that they cannot be reinforced in the general population too often, one such is : Breath is Life. Continue reading “Why the way we breathe is so important to our health”

9 of the best websites for walking events in the UK for all ages

via dollarphotoclub
via dollarphotoclub

Regardless of the growing success of the month of May as National Walking Month, the appeal of gathering and walking in groups has risen apace in many other months of the year.This can only be to the general benefit of the now large number of people who look to walking in groups as a fun and healthy thing to do. Continue reading “9 of the best websites for walking events in the UK for all ages”

5 mythbusting articles you may have missed at the60life blog about your health in later life/feed//feed//feed//feed/


There are many misconceptions about getting older.One of these is that older people inevitably will suffer from significant age-related decline in health.This is what many parents and grandparents of those now in their 60s and 70s were led to believe.With a lower life expectation they also seemed to be condemned to a short retirement in ill-health before death. Society and culture did not expect any more from older people. The stereotypes were out there with ‘pipe and slippers’ often the onlyreward at the end of a working life. Nowadays so much has changed and with good reason.Apart from people wanting more out of life the realisation has surfaced that in reality something can be done to prolong an active life.

Myth 1: Trying to improve fitness in older age is pointless Continue reading “5 mythbusting articles you may have missed at the60life blog about your health in later life/feed//feed//feed//feed/”

How to Lift Your Health Balance and Strength Using Light Weights/feed/



As we age, most people notice a range of changes in their health. One change might not seem like such a big deal, but more than one can add up to poor health long-term. For example, we might notice we are not as strong as we once were. We might discover that our balance isn’t what it used to be. As a result we may be prone to losing our balance and injuring ourselves due to slips, trips and falls. Continue reading “How to Lift Your Health Balance and Strength Using Light Weights/feed/”

The 17 health benefits you can hold onto in later life



17 Health Plus Benefits

7 strength training benefits for older people

17 Health Benefits
Following an earlier article on the, this article introduces a major series to be posted on this site about the numerous benefits of strength training at any age.

Until recently, loss of muscle was generally believed to be inevitable as we progress into later life.This discouraging belief has now been firmly dispelled by the findings of new scientific studies which show that an increase in frailty with age is not inevitable and can be controlled to a significant degree through lifestyle change, particularly through taking more exercise. Continue reading “The 17 health benefits you can hold onto in later life”

What Food Choices Make up a Mediterranean Diet?

mediterranean diet


When you think about Mediterranean food do you think of pitta, lasagna, plenty of white bread, lamb and pizza? If so, you are missing the point.

The Mediterranean Diet, proved time and again to lead to less disease, a healthier heart, better brain function and a multitude of other health benefits, has been misrepresented in recent years. A true healthy Mediterranean Diet is based on the eating habits of Greece, Crete and Southern Italy of around 1960.

That diet is based on whole foods, plants and vegetables. To these basic essentials small portions of lean, healthy meat can be added, as well as seafood 2 or 3 times a week. The idea is that good fats replace bad ones, and you should always eat a breakfast rich in high-fibre foods, fruits and whole grains.Though allowed,daily products, are used in limited amounts.

Below are a few popular food choices which make up a healthy Mediterranean-style diet.

Whole wheat, whole grains and oats
Good fats like extra-virgin olive oil, sunflower seeds, nuts and avocados
Fish like salmon and sardines, tuna and herring
Shellfish, such as clams, oysters and mussels
Herbs and natural spices
Fruits and vegetables of all kinds
Whole foods (foods that are as close to their natural state as possible)
Foods you should avoid or eat less

An understanding of your eating options also means knowing what foods you should avoid, or simply cut back on. If you limit your intake of the following food items and components, and you will be making smart Mediterranean food choices.

Fast food and fried food
Processed and red meat
Products made with white flour
Refined sugar
Bad fats like hydrogenated oils, saturated fats and trans fats
Butter, margarine and lard
Monosodium glutamate (MSG is found in up to 80% of all processed food)the
Isn’t this rather too strict a diet?

It doesn’t have to be.You can see the above are foods to avoid or eat less of and are not all strictly forbidden. Eating red meat a few times a month is considered alright. And sea salt can be used in limited quantities since it is not processed like table salt. Essentially, it is important to focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains, and less processed and refined food, salt, sugar and unhealthy fats.The wide variety of foods available and good for you means that the diet is not boring.

Gina Crawford has written a comprehensive guide to the real deal Mediterranean Diet with many delicious and easy to produce recipes.

Making smart food choices is the basis of the Mediterranean Diet. Before you prepare your next meal, be honest with yourself. Is your diet primarily whole food, plant and vegetable-based? Does it substitute healthy fats for bad fats? Will it ensure that you eat fish 2 or 3 times each week, and red meat no more than 2 or 3 times a month? If so, you are well on your way to choosing the foods found in a Mediterranean-style diet that lead to fewer diseases and better overall health.


Wishing you all wherever you maybe a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Christmas Eve – ‘visit from St Nicholas’ -Clement Clark Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,…

Happy Christmas to all,and to all goodnight!


Standing-up for your health really works

dollar photo club
dollar photo club

Scary headlines jostle daily in the media to attract our attention.Many do not deliver on the message and become just so much unnecessary distraction in our everyday lives.Now, where our health maybe concerned most of us will always prick-up our ears and take notice for fear of missing something of importance. Standing-up for your health is a theme that has gained traction in the last few years, but does it work? Sitting is killing us? Continue reading “Standing-up for your health really works”

Lights out all over the world in commemoration of WWI centenary

lightsout_250x165 Today, throughout the UK and in many countries overseas, the start of the First World War is being commemorated.One hundred years ago, the deadliest of conflicts began.In many villages and towns, the sacrifice of families and loved ones made during a period of four years of war will be remembered at special services and ceremonies held in the UK and Belgium.In Glasgow, heads and representatives of Commonwealth countries, many of whom were last night celebrating the close of the successful Commonwealth Games, will attend a commemoration service in the City’s cathedral.

One such area that has been holding events leading upto today is North Devon. Over the weekend memorial services and exhibitions were held in Bideford,Berrynabor,Barnstaple and West Down. A flypast of Sea King aircraft and a wreath laying ceremony was arranged at Barnstaple.The annual flower show in West Down was WWI themed,and today in the hall at St Calixtus Church a special exhibition will be open from 10.a.m. and later, an open air service will be held in the church hall grounds, ahead of 11 p.m. and the marking of the time of the announcement of war a century ago.


If you wish to join in a special moment of remembrance the British Legion is inviting you to participate in a shared moment of reflection by turning off your lights from 10pm to 11pm, leaving on a single light or candle, to mark the 100th anniversary of when Great Britain entered the First World War.

How to live comfortably and with independence in later life

sweet home

There has been much in the recent news about the growing belief that older people though finding themselves in inappropriate homes as some of their powers decline would far prefer to stay independent of a care home environment.

Perhaps not surprisingly a high number, 9 in 10 over 50s, according to the recent Daily Telegraph report of people surveyed about where they would prefer to live and be cared for, opted for staying put in their own homes. It seems though that most of us leave it far too late even to start any sort of conversation with anyone, including close family. We will discuss finance for older age, even funeral arrangements but not the long term living space we need or desire to maximise enjoyment of later life.

In the case of staying home and independent,planning for our living space in older age is of course not a new concept although there can be no ‘one size fits all’ approach to deal with the many requirements of individuals with different levels of health and abilities, as well as preferences for a particular lifestyle. There is a range of ‘fixes’ that can be considered to help maintain good quality of life, from small to medium ‘tweaks’ like adjusting the height of work surfaces ,installing better handle design for easier opening of doors and windows; also making more open living spaces for wheelchair access, for instance.At the other end of the range, there is the complete design-build always ‘fit for purpose’ living space. This looks to provide a living place in which to age, with practical comfort and aesthetics in mind.

Such a space should be able to function so as to enable both the able in mind and body and the disabled to co-habit in comfort and style.This latter of course is the holy grail,as it were, of planning for later life, and is often referred to as Universal (accessible )design which produces a broad range of practical ideas to incorporate in buildings and environments making them inherently accessible to people regardless of age. This helps at a social level so that the more elderly do not find themselves marginalised in their own homes and they can continue to enjoy the society of younger people.

Universal design was the brainchild of an architect who was himself confined to a wheelchair.His idea is a place to start a conversation about future living.It is a wide subject. You can start your own conversation with a quick start guide to learning how to live comfortably and with independence. Startling statistics from AgeUK tell us that the number of people over 65 in community-based care and support at home is falling rapidly in the UK. This is seen to be a trend working entirely against our wishes.It is time we all prepared better for our care in old age if we wish to  be where we want to be and not allow ourselves to end up in places not of our choosing. Aging in a Palace is a slim volume but a good read. It may be laced with many questions and few specific and detailed solutions, but it is thought provoking.

Could downsizing your property give you a new lease of life?

Chastleton House

At a time when much debate in the UK centres on insufficient housing to cater for the needs of a burgeoning population,encouraging downsizing by older people to make way for buyers of a younger generation is again being put forward as part of a solution.

Apparently,according to the Prudential, more than 2m homeowners over the age of 55 and over plan to downsize in the next few years.Another report suggests that downsizing could release upto £100,000 cash from the average property sale in the UK (in London this figure could be as much as £275,000).

So why and why now?

Homeowners have for many years felt trapped in the economic recession but they are now becoming more confident about the future and making a major lifestyle move. For many, the sale of a current property means:

-more appropriate living space as needs change in older age
-having more disposable cash perhaps to distribute to family
-help to ‘make ends meet’ in retirement,
-being able to spend on holidays and travel
-funds to secure long term care.

Most of those in the Prudential survey said that cash released by selling the equity in their property would be used to fund their later life.

Restricted physical mobility, high property maintenance and refurbishment costs,the ever increasing utility prices for gas,water and electricity are just some of the drivers for downsizing according to the website downsizingdirect .com

This trend to downsizing is is seen by many commentators as good for the general property market, freeing-up housing for those finding it difficult to step onto the property ownership ladder.Some feel it may also lead to the building of new developments to suit an ageing population where services and the benefits of community will provide greater fulfilment and quality of life.

The strong message seems to be for those looking to downsize is to seek appropriate professional financial advice. It is important to have a realistic expectation of what a sale will yield, and what will be left after all the costs of selling,buying a another home, and moving have been factored into the mix.

Have you had recent experience in this?Do let me know.




When are you too old to have ambition?


Tercera edad

Dame Joan Bakewell,the cultural broadcaster and writer once dubbed ‘the thinking man’s crumpet’ by the late Frank Muir, has suggested that elderly people would be far happier if they eschewed ambition,giving-up on ‘winning’, and lived more content with their lot. At a recent gathering at the Hay-on-Wye Festival, she also added, on the other hand, that a person in old age needed a sense of purpose when pursuing careers, caring for young family, and keeping one’s remaining friends, cease to play a crucial part in life.Old age she felt was like a ‘country’, where its inhabitants were generally excluded,depressed, and lonely.

The ‘country’ of old age

This for me this raises the age-old question : when does one reach the frontier of this awful country thus described? It is rather like measuring the proverbial piece of string.One arbitrary line, like the current official retirement age in the UK, for instance is not appropriate for the well being of all people reaching it, if strictly applied. Dame Joan believes that at the age of 81 she is reaching that frontier. For others of differing states of health, level of skills, including social, and lifestyle needs, the step into old age may be much nearer, or perhaps further away. I do like the idea, though, of conducting a later life that minimises anxiety so often the result of living with rivalry.

Where I have difficulty is defining ambition. One person’s ambition maybe to do more for others; another to write poetry or a novel, or perhaps simply just to do do something different, and have different interests from an earlier life.This kind of ambition is to be encouraged in my book.

Look for a sense of purpose

Whilst, the country of old age for many may seem a very bleak place, unless you can rest content on your laurels in the comfort of a life well lived, Dame Joan does see how this can change. Life can still be wonderful and fulfilling. With some adjustment of their goals, the elderly can still have a sense of purpose for the rest of their lives.

Old age is no longer a place of willing submissiveness

To help people with the necessary life changes, she advocates official help with the appointment of a ‘commissioner’ for the old, charged with looking after their special interests.The old now have significant political power, she says,’old age is no longer a place of willing submissiveness.’  People in later life now expect more from their later life.

What do you think?Your comments would be most welcome.


Have you voted for government to keep its hands-off your pensioner benefits?

Senior Couple Watching TV At Home

The Conservative party has pledged to consign the possible granting of state pension increases so small as to be meaningless ,to the political dustbin by confirming the retention of the ‘triple lock’ guarantee for state pension increases post-2015 ,if re-elected. No sooner had this political football been punctured than murmurings were to be heard from other political quarters threatening to remove the following pensioners’ non-means tested benefits :

– free tv licence fee for the over-75s

-winter fuel allowances

-bus passes

-free prescriptions and eye tests

It is true that there are some wealthy pensioners in the UK who could well fund these benefits for themselves. According to the Hands Off ! campaign, however,the high figures for usage point to a clear need for these benefits to be retained.It also says that the high level of unclaimed means tested benefits, for over 65s, clearly shows that means testing does not work.

“We have,for the first time,placed a value on the economic and social contribution that older people make to our society. In 2010,over 65s made an astonishing net contribution of £40 billion to the UK economy through,amongst other contributions,taxes, spending power,…” Lynne Berry, WRVS

Hands Off! also says,the recent period of austerity is seen as having hit hard the older as well as the younger generations in the nation.The risk of poverty in older people is said to be higher than for most other EU countries.

There have been a number of recent changes affecting pensioner benefits:

-the date for women’s pension retirement age brought forward

-state pensions linked to the lower measure of inflation (CPI)

-raised qualifying age for Winter fuel payments

-the freezing of personal allowances for over 4 million pensioners, expected to save the government £1bn by 2015.

“There are over 10 million people aged 65+ living in the UK. Two out of three believe that politicians see older people as a low priority. The ‘Hands Off’ campaign plans to change that.” Hands Off!”

An e-petition entitled ‘Hands off universal pensioner benefits’ has been created in order to influence government and parliament in the UK.

Sign-up today! The opportunity  to do so ends 10th May 2014

Are you still stepping-up your exercise in 2014?

So how is it going for you this year,so far? Did you start the year with a resolution to exercise more?Maybe you bought a pedometer, or some such aid, to help you set targets and measure your exercise levels.Just maybe, though,Fotosearch_k2347105 you will have followed the over 80% or so it is reckoned fall away from achieving their resolutions.

Well,I did make a resolution to achieve a daily average of 10,000 steps a day within the first three months of the year. I bought the pedometer and I have tried to build-up my daily step rate.At the moment I am achieving around 6,000 steps on average. So some days, I do more than 6,000, other days more around 5,500. My current rate is classed as just above a sedentary lifestyle, an improvement, but I must do much better in the coming weeks.

If you have never measured your walking steps, it does require some application to achieve the higher step rates for beneficial exercise. There is no doubt I feel much better for the challenge.

The thing about going for a good walking habit is that if you falter, you can quickly step it up again  without too much loss of benefit. I find now that I think about how to step-up my effort during the day.So,for example, instead of driving the car short distances, I will take that 10 minute walk.I will take the stairs in a public building rather than a lift.

Would you feel better for that extra exercise? Well,don’t just take my word for it: research studies in Brazil and the US have concluded that taking 6,000 or more steps daily can decrease the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.They found that typically an adult male walks 5,117 steps in a day, equivalent that is to a walk of about two and a half miles and, apparently  adding a further 1,000 steps to this tally may be just enough to lower this health risk by reducing abdominal obesity.

The research also indicates that your daily quota of steps does not have to be concentrated in an exercise programme.The health benefit can be gained if the physical activity is spread throughout the day.

Daily there is much talk about the growing levels of obesity throughout many parts of the world. You can help yourself by keeping to this simple daily exercise plan to walk more each day. Set yourself a reasonable and effective target.


Walking back to health and happiness


Walking has been described as the most underrated of human activities, and yet, when I last searched on Google there were 499 million entries for this one word alone! Clearly there is a vast interest in walking but are we reaping the full benefit of this most natural of skills? In health matters and particularly in terms of preventable serious illness, it seems we are not. Insufficient physical activity and an overly high intake of calories in food and drink are causing widespread chronic diseases in the general population of many developed countries.



Should I do this?Will I benefit?

People of all ages can greatly benefit from walking for exercise. And the fantastic news is that it is never too late to start taking advantage. From the outset, you should listen to your body and only do what is comfortable for you. If you are not a walker for fitness you should build-up your level of activity introducing walking into your daily life until it becomes a habit you enjoy and don’t wish to lose. Importantly, it should become fun,and you should feel better for it.

The benefits of walking are :

– More active life

– Losing weight

– Having fun

– Gaining a purposeful habit

– Saving money

– Expanding social life

– Providing protection against serious illness

Many of us need help later in life to sustain the level of physical activity required to ensure we give ourselves the best chance of living long and healthy lives. Significant changes in our lifestyles can affect our attitude to exercise. Often,when we reach a certain age and move away from busy family and business schedules to finding more time on our hands, we can tend to slow down. The equation we need to guard against this:

High calorie Intake + Low Physical Activity = Obesity,diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

So what will help? A good habit of taking exercise regularly and within our individual ability can pay high health dividends. In order to acquire this habit most of us need to see the measurable results of our efforts indicating clearly our progress towards incremental and reasonable improvements in our fitness. We need targets to aim for and the ability to measure easily how we are doing. The answer is to use a physical activity monitoring device everyday.

Activity Measurement

I recently bought a pedometer. This I believe will help me to build-up my daily walking activity. Already I have noticed a significant change in my daily walking activity. I will let you know how I get on. Over the next few weeks, I would also like to bring you some tips and related information about the benefits of the free at the point of action gift of walking to help ourselves sustain or improve the quality of our lives.So, if you don’t want to miss out,you can sign-up for my regular newsletter, in the box at the right of this screen- no obligation, and certainly no danger that your details will ever be used elsewhere.

Continue reading for details about the Omron Premium Digital Pocket Pedometer…pedometer review



5 easy ways to save on your annual motoring costs

Here’s something we can all do today.Here and now.Cut down on our motor fuel costs by driving more efficiently. The Energy Saving Trust has calculated that the average driver in the UK today can be better-off by adopting some easy changes in driving technique and care of the car.

We all have some aspect of our driving that we can improve, even after many years of holding a driving licence. The following are five easy ways we can save a significant amount of money, possibly as much as 270 pounds sterling per annum.There is no expense involved, just a little attention to what we do. Here goes, in no articular order of importance:

  1. Drive more smoothly – Avoid sudden acceleration and heavy braking ( unless in an emergency). Given the conditions on the road and the density of the traffic, the keeping of the proper distance between you and the car in front can be maintained by easing-off the accelerator in good time, rather than frequent braking abruptly keep your distance.
  2. Slow down – getting to your destination sooner does not always save you money.
  3. Switch-it off –  When it is appropriate and safe to do so switch-off your engine instead of allowing your engine to idle while stationary.With the weather becoming colder, it is unnecessary to warm-up your car before you set off on your journey. Modern cars don’t need to be warmed-up from cold.
  4. Switch to a higher gear as soon as you can – when it is safe and appropriate moved into a higher gear as soon as possible
  5. Close your car windows – the aerodynamics of a car are greatly changed if the windows (s) are open causing in inefficient ‘drag’ particularly at speeds of 60 mph or more.Also if using air conditioning, itself a high user of energy,it will be inefficient for the heat or coolth is allowed to merely ‘fly’ out of the windows.

Other things to watch are : keep weight down as much as possible by not carrying unnecessary items; make sure your tyres are regularly checked and pressures kept at the right level; and only use a car rack when one is needed.

For further information, you can go to The Energy Saving Trust website ,giving you more details of the above,and also other ways of saving energy,including in the home.