The older we get the more difficult it becomes to adult, right?
‘Eat 50 grams (five or six dried plums) daily. Prunes have been found to have an effect on enhancing bone formation and reducing bone density loss,’ says Dr Leon Creaney, a consultant in sport and exercise medicine at the Manchester Institute of Health & Performance.
A 2017 study at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, in the U.S. found that, when eaten daily for six months, prunes were beneficial to bone health because of the variety of nutrients in the fruit.
Stand on one leg when brushing your teeth
‘Ageing and injury to muscles and ligaments affect our balance. Practising standing on one leg for short periods of time — such as while brushing your teeth — helps reverse that,’ says Dr James Higgins.
‘Changes like this have been shown to reduce the risk of falls substantially.’
A French study at the University Paris-Sud published in the BMJ in 2013 found that exercise programmes reduced falls that caused injuries by 37 per cent, falls leading to serious injuries by 43 percent and broken bones by 61 percent.
Drink a cup of black or green tea daily
Tea drinkers have a lower risk of heart disease. But it is only the black or green varieties that have a beneficial effect on the heart, says Dr Iqbal Malik. a consultant cardiologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the private Welbeck Heart Health clinic, both in London.
‘Green and black tea drinkers have a lower risk of heart disease. Why? Drinking these types of teas is an indicator of a healthy lifestyle and tea also contains antioxidants, which protect against cell damage.
‘But, of course, it is also relaxing in itself, which is good for the heart.’
Tea drinking is also linked to a lower risk of cancer.
‘Anything from three cups a week to four cups a day is fine,’ says Dr Malik.
Skip a meal or two
Fasting for 16 hours — the equivalent to missing a couple of meals once a week — can help you beat heart disease by improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin, says Dr Iqbal Malik, a consultant cardiologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the private Welbeck Heart Health clinic, both in London.
The hormone insulin is produced by the body to convert sugar from food into energy. However, in people who are overweight, insulin often stops working properly, as the body becomes resistant to its effects.
This can lead to type 2 diabetes, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease because diabetes damages the blood vessels.
‘By breaking the food cycle, even just for a short time, it resets the body’s sensitivity to the hormone and this can help reverse the risk of diabetes and help people to lose weight, both of which are risk factors for heart disease, heart attack and stroke,’ says Dr Malik.
One 16-hour fast a week is enough, he says. ‘That means having an evening meal at, say, 7pm, going to bed and then not eating until after 11am the next day.’
Do the dishes by hand
‘Wash up by hand once a day,’ advises Michelle Lawrence, a specialist hand physiotherapist at Wiltshire & Swindon Health Care.
‘Never underestimate the power of warm water to ease pain and increase function — so when you have finished washing up, spend a few more minutes in the bowl gently squeezing a cloth or sponge, and pushing the water from side to side with your hands if you suffer pain or arthritis in your finger joints.’
Just as good is getting stuck into some Play-Doh — ‘squeezing, pinching, moulding, rolling, scratching’, says Michelle.
She adds: ‘Keep a pot to hand, pick it up and work with it for five to ten minutes a few times a week to maintain dexterity — including the fine motor skills needed for writing or fastening a button — and strengthen the hand and thumb to preserve function. It’s ideal for anyone, regardless of age.’