Be Happy, Healthy and Wise

Fitness is an attitude of mind; I believe “Age is mind over Matter” and if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter!  Ageing is inevitable, a depressing thought and nothing we can do about it, or is there? No, we can’t add years to life but we can add “life” to the years we have!  Maintaining good health enables us to pursue ambitions, hopes and dreams with many older people continuing to lead interesting lives.  Feeling well helps us enjoy the increase in longevity by giving us a sense of wellbeing, relaxation and confidence.

Being fit is being able to do the things you want to do, when you want to do them.  Maintaining fitness should be a necessity of life, not an option! People who get it right may experience a decrease of some physical ability in their 60’s whilst others not at all! Many individuals enter advanced old age still performing at the level of younger adults.

Pensioners now outnumber children for the first time in British history. “Grey power” is growing and without the social and economic restrictions of the past, have the opportunity to travel, make new relationships or continue with further education, irrespective of age, gender, colour, class or creed. So youth had better start realising that there is life after sixty!

Ageing and inability is not the same thing, trouble is today we use our brain instead of our brawn, to the detriment of our physical wellbeing. We sit around too much in work and home, with heart disease, joint problems, osteoporosis and digestive disorders the end results. We need to get out of the habit of disguising physical and some mental problems as “just old age creeping on”.

Recent research by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that just 10 minutes brisk walking also improves one’s mental state by increasing self-esteem and reducing stress and anxiety. It concluded that people who regularly exercise have a 20 – 30% lower risk of depression and dementia. When we’re active chemicals called endorphins are released giving us the “feel good” factor.

Wellbeing is not just about the Body, it’s about the Mind and Spirit too. Being socially active can help reduce feelings of loneliness, anxiety, stress and worry.  So get out there, and get chatting. Talking through personal worries with others can half a problem, or at least put it into perspective!

Question 1

Sometimes I find myself falling asleep at say 20:00 and sleeping straight through till 07:00. After waking up I often feel as if I haven’t slept at all. My husband says I should just let myself sleep, but surely sleeping for so long cannot be good for you? I usually force myself to stay awake until 23:00 when I feel it’s acceptable to go to bed. Is there a natural way to help me stay awake? I have tried coffee.

Lucinda O’Brien, Kent

Answer 1

You think this is a problem? Well I say “who could be so lucky”; most of us would love the ability to sleep so well and for so long. According to the NHS most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night and you can set a regular bedtime schedule by working out what time you need to wake up. It would appear that your body needs those 9 hours!

Most people will envy you, winding down is a critical stage in preparing for bed and you would appear to be an expert! Personally I find that writing my “to do” list for the next day organises my thoughts.  It clears my mind and a few relaxation yoga type stretches helps relax my muscles. Exercising vigorously has the opposite effect.

For some a favourite way of relaxing is taking a warm bath (not hot), which helps the body reach a temperature that’s ideal for rest. Reading a book, listening to the radio, or gentle hypnotic music and sound effects will calm and relax others.

So Lucinda enjoy your sleep and appreciate just how lucky you are!

.Question 2

Recently I have noticed that my hands have become awfully dry and are peeling. I don’t use moisturizer as I have never had this problem before. Due to my job I have to wash my hands several times a day with antibacterial scrub and hot water. The peeling is rather embarrassing. Can you advise any solution?

Emma Hammerfield, Sutherland

 Answer 2

 

Emma you don’t say what your job is, but friends of mine in food preparation, hairdressing and nursing complain of dermatitis.  Avoid contact with detergents and other strong cleansing agents or use plastic gloves. Don’t apply hair lotion, hair cream or hair dye, or peel or squeeze oranges, lemons or grapefruit with bare hands. Wear gloves for chopping raw food, especially onions, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes and raw chicken.  Avoid direct contact with metal, wax, shoe, floor, furniture and window polishes and be careful not to get solvents such as white spirit, petrol, trichloroethylene, turpentine and thinners on your skin.

To speed healing wash hands in luke warm water and a gentle skin cleanser without perfume or tar. Best to avoid soap, use soap substitutes instead.  Rinse hands thoroughly under running water and dry carefully with a clean towel, especially between the fingers. Avoid wearing rings, but if you do, don’t wash with soap as it collects behind the ring and irritates the skin.  Apply plenty of moisturizer (emollient) cream after washing hands.

Rubber can cause eczema/dermatitis, so if you wear rubber gloves, put cotton ones inside them. If water gets inside take glove off straightaway, rinse and dry it. Don’t wear gloves for more than 15-20 minutes (they get sweaty) so having a couple of pairs on the go helps.

Remember Emma, even it seems completely healed, your hands are still at risk of dermatitis for at least 4 or 5 months. So keep protecting them and using your moisturizer which forms a layer over your skin helping protect it against irritating substances that might cause your dermatitis to flare again.