Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Age no barrier......

Last night we went to the Royal Opera House to see Der Rosenkavalier. My husband and I decided last year that this was our birthday present to each other.  As this Opera is not available so often and demand is high so the tickets were the most expensive we have ever purchased.  The production costs must be enormous , the cast, orchestra  and set were magnificent.  I was a little daunted by the length of the three Acts and some 4 hours.  I needn't have worried as time passed very quickly as we were thoroughly engrossed.

ROH is undergoing extensive refurbishment, however disruption was kept to a minimum.  The building and ambience is second to none - absolutely love going there if regrettably not often enough!!

The roles in this Opera are particularly demanding and it was remarkable how each member could keep up such a high standard. How do they do it? It depends what motivates you in terms of success and reward and what each of these mean to you. They do need enormous stamina and resilience. in my last post and we touched upon diet  and exercise.  These are the elements we consider seriously to provide us with health and well being to enable us all to pursue an optimum quality of life and longevity. Some of the cast were not in the first flush of youth and yet exuded the energy not dissimilar to the younger members.  I wondered what their fitness regime was like and whether they were quite disciplined with diet and lifestyle.

At which stage do people say "my life is over" and that future challenges and achievements are not for them?

On the political scene President Trump is 70 years old, Hillary Clinton 69, Theresa May 60, Jeremy Corbyn 67.  Many people at their respective ages have opted for a quieter less demanding life.  So what is it that sets them apart keeping themselves active mentally and physically?

A couple of years ago we saw Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit in the West End she was then celebrating her 90th birthday!!  She was amazing still treading the boards... doing matinee and evening performances.

So the lessons learned for me is that whatever your age its up to each one of us to make our existence as meaningful as possible and not give way to the stereotypes associated with each age group and which compartmentalise us.

Too often older people are written off - its up to us to challenge preconceptions and just get on with it!!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Finding the motivation.......

So what might encourage us to lead a happy healthy fit lifestyle? We are all facing the challenges of temptations around us every day but we recognise that sometimes we have to take stock.

At my age and that of my friends (50s and 60s) we agree the we need to take extra care.  The usual things come over again and again when we discuss health and fitness issues....which is often :)

- blood pressure
- cholesterol
- mobility
- tiredness
- health scares
- batwings
- tummy fat
- rolls of fat
- ill fitting clothes
- and the rest!!

They say that we end up with the "face we deserve" now we also end up with the "body we deserves".

Lets face it none of us are saints and have lapses of common sense but if we continue to give way to excess we will seriously affect our health and longevity.

The New Year made me revisit my previous resolutions.  I have managed to maintain my weight by having a low carb diet and being mindful of portion control.  I make 95% of our food from scratch, its healthier and despite what people say it is also cheaper.  You know exactly whats gone into the making of the food and no-one has sneaked in hidden sugar.  I heard a celeb on one of the chat shows say "you would be surprised how much sugar is in spaghetti bolognese" !!!  If you make it - one of the easiest meals - you won't have any sugar!!

My friends and family support each other and all try to be as healthy as possible.  We compare notes, we groan if we add on a few extra pounds and moan if a dress doesn't fit.....

If you feel you don't have thais kind of encouragement around you maybe a support group like Weightwatchers may be the answer where weight is monitored and advice and are offered and a team spirit provides the motivation to succeed.

On the fitness front, my trusty fitbit provided me with constant feedback on my daily progress - I know this may be a little obsessive but each to their own.

I read health and fitness magazines which provide useful advice and recipes and help to keep me on the straight and narrow!

I go to the gym where I also see regular attendees and we talk as we work out on cross trainers, bikes and treadmills and it is surprising how quickly an hour goes by. I aim to go every day but with other commitments it probably is about 5 on average and surprisingly I really enjoy it which wasn't the case at first. I can hear some saying "Im told older that" my gym there a soup of eighty somethings who exercise regularly and are keeping agile and they also enjoy the social aspect of regularly meeting up.

Today I attended my second Pilates class of the week.  I have had a years lapse on attending classes and was encouraged to revisit as I am having twinges in my back and shoulder probably from slouching on the sofa watching TV!!  So my resolution is to have a session once a week.  I have a Pilates DVD and I know some people find this works for them as they can exercise at home but I find that the class works better for me as you are pushed out of your comfort zone and achieve more.

Its never too late to make changes - you feel better, look better and have far more energy with a leaner, fitter toned body!!

It is a matter of finding out what works for you - a visit to your doctor would be sensible and have a checkup particularly if you fall into older category and then devise a plan!!

Friday, 13 January 2017

NHS Challenge!

My last post shows my Fitbit and meeting my fitness targets for the day. After returning from our Caribbean cruise I have become even more conscious of the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle . Let me fill you in on some of my observations on the holiday.

I am not keen on flying and so if we can sail from Southampton to Southampton I am more than happy. The downside if there is one that the period of time at sea may be long. So this holiday for me removed a lot of the angst. 

What surprised us however was the number of seriously obese passengers and we surmised that maybe it would have been impossible for them to fly and so again this cruise suited them but for different reasons. Out of  approximately 2000 people on board we estimated that about 60% were overweight. I have mentioned the obesity problem before however this time we were shocked by the body size and the extent of immobility of many. 

We witnessed eating to the point of absurdity. This may seem far fetched but let me give you just one example - one woman who was very jolly and pleasant and almost the width of a corridor would struggle each morning to collect her breakfast from the buffet. She could hardly breath and could only move by conducting a side to side rocking motion. Her plate was filled with several pieces of toast stacked in such a way that bacon, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes could be trapped between the layers - the arrangement was completed with baked beans poured over the top. 

This level of gluttony was not unique. When you see this with your own eyes your amazement turns into real concern that clearly she and many of the others couldn't help themselves. 

The obesity crisis is something we all have to take seriously and the solutions have to be quite radical. A sugar tax would not make any impact whatsoever. The age group primarily 45-70 on this ship, should really know better and realise that they are killing themselves. They also are suffering from many ailments including diabetes, having to endure operations to hips, knees and the rest. 
We listened to passengers who openly talked about their failings but made light of it by saying "I'm just a real foodie" and "you see I just love my food"!

Plenty of wonderful food was available, lots of variety and choice but for many they stuck to what I heard referred to on a TV programme as "the beige diet" (fat v carbs BBC). Lots of potatoes mainly in the form of chips, bread rolls with every meal, rice, pasta.....

We reflected on the challenge facing the NHS and what could be done. There are no simple answers but there needs to be strong messages about the consequences of this overindulgence. We seem to care more about sensitivities than tackling the problem.  If the behaviour I have described is replicated across the country no wonder the NHS can't cope.

Needless to say the gym on board was used by about 20 people on a regular basis. However others did visit the gym use the scales. Some including my husband preferred to walk 3 times round the promenade deck (1mile) on a daily basis.- just as effective particularly when walking briskly

Diet and exercise are regular topics in newspapers, magazines, TV programmes, websites, Government and NHS guidelines so why aren't people listening???

What do you think? 

Friday, 6 January 2017

2016 - holidays!!

When I was a young woman holidays had to take a back seat as there were always too many demands on limited funds.  I always thought it best to save and pay attention to security and the future. So many years later having satisfied those needs my husband and I are now in a position to indulge ourselves.

Last year we went on two significant holidays - one, a cruise  in March/April for five and half weeks which took in a long sail starting in Singapore stopping at many ports, the most spectacular being Cape Town and ....

Walvis Bay, Namibia.

This was one of the longest holidays we have ever had and we were worried that it might have been too long.  We were pleasantly surprised as we were enjoying all the different locations, the weather, the relaxation and getting involved in activities which appealed to us.

Later in the year ....November to 19th December we went on a Caribbean cruise.  This location is beautiful, however we aren't really beach people and so for us the holiday does have limitations. We saw it as a lovely break before Xmas.It was quite a challenge before we departed as we had to do so much prep before the festivities on return - somehow you always manage to get things done.

We had been to some of the islands before but not to Antigua and St Maarten both of which are subtley different.

 We really enjoyed our frozen Margaritas in St Maarten!!

Holidays are great and enjoyable but it is good to recharge but I have never been one who wishes to be defined by the holidays I take. Some passengers love to have a quick turnaround and return on another cruise as soon as possible - indeed some seem to spend all of their time on ships and if this is what gives them pleasure then good luck to them.  However my husband and I like to have the contrasts, we have other interests at home and love the diverse quality of life.

I am still curious as to how people can afford so many holidays.....and the bar bill!!! 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Another New Year!

It has been a while since I made an entry in my blog. Somehow the past few months have been dominated by commitments, politics and holidays. The great thing about retirement is that in the main you are able to make decisions about how you use your time, however sometimes its possible to be over ambitious with how much you can realistically cover.

One of my resolutions is to be a little more attentive to my blog which I enjoy and over the next few weeks will relaunch and expand on issues which are important to me and I hope to other mature travellers...