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  1. wrighty

    New Year Healthy Lifestyle

    So as we enter 2018, I've realised that this year I'll have spent half my life (24 years) as a qualified doc. Thought it might be appropriate to share a few things I've learned over the years. Firstly, it's becoming increasingly clear that exercise, including weight training (so not just 'going for a walk') leads to far better health in one's later years. A couple of examples I came across in the past few weeks are relevant. Firstly, I entered the British Indoor Rowing Championships at the start of December. One of the competitors was 91 years of age, and he rowed 2000m in 10:46. It's sad to say that there are many 30somethings that couldn't do that. Secondly, the other day I came across a chap who was running 10km in 55 minutes at the age of 80+. Both of these men had been exercising all their life. They were fit, they looked fit, and they were still able to do all of their daily activities. Contrast that with patients I routinely see in their 60s who have led a sedentary lifestyle, and because of lack of fitness and conditioning fall over all the time, have aching joints, and need multiple pills to keep their blood pressure under control etc. Everyone knows about osteoporosis - as we age we lose bone density, particularly if you're a woman. What is less well known is sarcopaenia - the loss of muscle mass, which occurs at about 1% a year from the age 50. If you have poor muscles your joints ache and you have poor balance reactions, with obvious consequences. The only way to prevent this is to lift weights. So my top tip for everyone is to exercise. Do it regularly and start young, but whatever age you are it will be beneficial. We're all getting heavier. Cheap calorie rich nutrition poor food is easily available. Having looked through many sets of medical notes over the years, most people seem to put on 1-2kg per year. This is nothing really, until you consider that over the course of one's working life you might go up from 70kg to 110kg without really noticing it. It doesn't have to be this way. No-one should be obsessed about their weight - fitness matters more than weight in itself - and in fact the biggest predictor of being overweight in 5 years time is being on a diet now! Just watch it, and if your belt gets tight, or you creep up a couple of kgs in a month or two then back off on the booze/sweets/pies for a few weeks until you're where you were. People have too much faith in modern medicine. Yes it's great, and there are drugs and operations for everything. And we're all living longer. But we're not living healthier for longer. And being on multiple meds, or having surgery, is not as free from complication as we'd like it to be. Drugs have side effects, operations have risks and a proportion have a poor outcome (there's no such thing as an operation that can't make the situation worse!) They're all best avoided. And in many situations, Mother Nature is hard to beat! So, if you're going to make NY resolutions, choose ones that will stick. Exercise more, lift weights, don't get gradually fatter over the years. And don't smoke, and don't drink to excess. If we all did that, then the medical profession would have far less to do, and perhaps as a society we could afford a health service to look after us when we really need it. Happy New Year everyone - I'm just off out to the gym