Health and Wellbeing

Memory Walk Fundraiser

Vicky McClure Goes
on Memory Walk

Line of Duty star, Vicky McClure 

There is just no stopping Vicky McClure when it comes to uniting with Alzheimer’s Society to take part in their flagship fundraiser, Memory Walk. Not only has the television star been busy filming the new series of hit drama Line of Duty but Vicky has also been working on the upcoming BBC documentary My Dementia Choir.

She has even struggled to find time to watch hit new TV series The Bodyguard, but despite a hectic schedule, Alzheimer’s Society ambassador Vicky still made sure she took part in the charity’s Memory Walk in Nottingham – for the eighth year in succession.

Dementia devastates lives, but every pound raised through Memory Walk helps Alzheimer’s Society provide vital services and fund research to improve care and find a cure.

“There’s something very special about Memory Walk and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” says Vicky.

“I felt I had to take part because Memory Walk is a powerful and uplifting way of showing that we’re determined to one day defeat dementia. And the more I take part in Memory Walk and meet people affected by dementia, the more determined I feel to fight it with everything I‘ve got.

“We’ve got to get rid of it for good – for the sake of the next generation. We need to defeat dementia because it just can’t carry on. It is such a horrific condition – I hope eventually we’ll get the better of it. Events like Memory Walk help Alzheimer’s Society to get us there.”

Of the top 10 causes of death, dementia is the only one that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed down. Research will beat dementia but more funding is urgently needed to find a cure.

Alzheimer’s Society is committed to spending at least £150 million over the next decade on dementia research – and Memory Walk will help to raise vital funds towards this. Vicky and her family are among 100,000 people who are taking part in 40 Memory Walks this autumn and the charity is hoping they will generate as much as £9 million to help people affected by dementia.

“For me, Memory Walk is people of all ages and from all backgrounds getting together and publicly uniting against dementia,” says Vicky, best known for Line of Duty and winner of a Bafta for her role in This is England.

“The only way we will defeat dementia is by us all making an effort to come together and join forces at events like Memory Walk to raise awareness and funds for research.

“When I did my first Memory Walk, there were just 300 of us on the banks of the River Trent and now 3,000 people take part. That just shows how the dementia movement is gathering momentum and is really encouraging for everyone.”

The Nottingham Memory Walk was very much a family affair for Vicky who completed the walk with her mum and sister and young nephew Dexter.

“It’s important to me and my family because my nana developed dementia and that was heartbreaking for us all. My nana is where my determination to defeat dementia was born from and she continues to inspire me. Now I feel that everything I do now that is related to the cause is in her memory. If it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t be here doing all these things. It’s her legacy.”

Vicky’s been on a steep learning curve since initially supporting Alzheimer’s Society as her nana, Iris, was diagnosed with vascular dementia a year after her first Memory Walk and died with dementia in 2015.

“At first I didn’t really know what dementia meant and how it affected people. I had an idea it was just old people forgetting whether they’d locked the front door but then my nana developed dementia so its full impact really hit home.

“Now I have learned an incredible amount about dementia, its different types and how it doesn’t discriminate – affecting people of all ages. People can  live with dementia well but the more widespread it becomes the more we need to support people with dementia better – with better quality of care, information and advice so they can continue to live and enjoy life. That’s why we do Memory Walks.”

Before embarking on her local walk, Vicky had issued a rallying call to fellow walkers in a speech ahead of the event along with 31-year-old Daniel Bradbury who was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 30. Daniel is also a member of Vicky’s Dementia Choir and he took part in the walk along with wife Jordan, their two young twins and other members of their family.

“Having Daniel up on the stage with me ahead our local Memory Walk meant the world to me,” says Vicky.

“It’s because of the BBC documentary that I have made 20 great friends who are living with dementia. I feel I’m walking for them now as well, especially people like Daniel who are so young and shouldn’t have to be going through this.

“I relate to Daniel because we have quite a lot in common. He has a wife and two young children – I went to their wedding last month, which was a beautiful occasion. This disease is just not fair, it’s really cruel.  I want to do everything I can to fight back against dementia.”

Vicky spoke out after completing the Nottingham Memory Walk, which took place in the majestic grounds of Wollaston Hall at the end of a busy week.

“I started filming Line of Duty on Monday in Belfast so I filmed Monday and Tuesday and flew to Nottingham on Tuesday night to film the choir on Wednesday. I flew back to Belfast on Thursday morning, filmed all day, flew back to Nottingham on Friday, did my Memory Walk and then it was back to Belfast for Line of Duty.

“I suppose I’ve got loads going on with the television work but there’s no stopping me when it comes to the fight against dementia. And it’s genuine – this isn’t a stunt, this isn’t to make me feel as though I’m a do-gooder, I want to help.

“If getting my face out there to raise the profile of Alzheimer’s Society work and presenting documentaries on the telly help to rally people then that’s what I’ll do until we defeat dementia. The fact that Memory Walk is getting bigger and bigger is in some ways quite sad because of the amount of people that come here means it is affecting more than ever.

“But it also means more people are becoming more aware of what dementia means and everybody wants to help and that just goes to show the amount of good people we have got in the world.”

As well as supporting Alzheimer’s Society and her television commitments, Vicky is now relishing getting up to speed with Bodyguard.

“I started watching Bodyguard on the plane back home to Nottingham and I think it is gripping television. I got just half-way through the first episode before my Memory Walk because Belfast to Nottingham is only a short flight but it seems like a brilliant piece of work.

“Jed Mercurio is a very clever man – he has written some exquisite scripts for Line of Duty and it seems he has done the trick again with Bodyguard.”

Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Hughes says, “Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer – someone develops dementia every three minutes, with 1 million set to develop the condition by 2021.

“We are enormously grateful that Vicky and her family and friends are rising to the huge challenge it poses by uniting with Alzheimer’s Society to help us defeat dementia. Sadly, dementia devastates lives, but every pound raised through Memory Walk will help Alzheimer’s Society provide vital information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by the disease.”

Alzheimer’s Society is urgently calling on people to unite against dementia and take part in Memory Walk – register now at www.memorywalk.org.uk

Returning from Hospital

A Guide to Coming Home from Hospital

By Ashridge Home Care

Leaving the hospital after a stay can cause some stress and anxiety, especially if you’re still recovering from an illness or injury. You might be concerned about managing on your own after you’ve been discharged.

Before you leave the hospital

Before you leave the hospital, your care staff will carry out an assessment that will summarise your needs for further support and treatment. Hospital staff should have included you in any decisions about your care and the support you’ll receive once you’ve headed home.

Don’t be afraid to raise any concerns that you have, especially if you’re worried about staying on top of your treatment plan and looking after yourself.

Make sure that you have a relative, friend, or carer to help you return home on your discharge day. They’ll be able to help you settle in. Check with your nurses and doctors that you understand any medication or equipment that is part of your treatment plan.

Returning Home

You might need to make a few changes to your property so that you can live there safely while you continue to recover. In some cases, this might mean moving to the living room to sleep for a little while or adding an alert system to the bathroom.

If you can’t manage at home, you might need to consider making different arrangements until you can care for yourself again. Temporary respite, convalescent care, or even permanent residential care are all options.

You won’t have the same kind of support at home that you had at the hospital, and you’ll need to remember this when you’re discharged. Recovering at home is very different to recovering with medical staff around you all the time, and you’ll quickly realise how much was done for you while you were in hospital.

Your Recovery

The first few weeks of your recovery at home are the most critical time. You might get frustrated that it takes so much effort to do the simplest of tasks, and you’re likely to tire easily. Set targets for yourself to help you get back to what you consider your “normal”.

Remember that everyone recovers at their own pace. If it gets too much, you might need help from health professionals. Keep in touch with your GP about how you’re feeling and if there’s any extra support that you could benefit from. Having family visitors often wouldn’t hurt, either.

In the case that you need more help to manage your recovery at home, or are thinking of changing your accommodations, contact your GP or your local social services team.

Settling back into your daily life

Your recovery period may be longer than you’re expecting it to be, but as you get better, you’ll be able to take back more and more of your original life until you’re right back where you were before.

Ashridge Home Care are a live in care provider based in Buckinghamshire.

For more information on Ashridge Home Care visit www.ashridgehomecare.co.uk

Healthy Lifestyle Advice

Know Thrombosis
Top Tips to Prevent
Deadly Blood Clots

As you age, your risk of experiencing serious health conditions also increases. However, not many people are aware of one of the most serious health risks they may face – blood clots, also known as thrombosis.

The reality is that one in four people worldwide die from conditions caused by thrombosis, making it a leading cause of global death and disability. Your risk of developing blood clots can be even higher if you are aged above 60, which is why understanding your risk for thrombosis, and how to prevent it, is so important. 

“Blood clots also known as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism affect one in a thousand people every year,” says Beverley Hunt, a Professor of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Medical Director of Thrombosis UK and Steering Committee Member for World Thrombosis Day.

“Understanding the risk factors for thrombosis and if you are at risk, as well as the signs and symptoms, is knowledge that could save your life.”

So, what is thrombosis

Thrombosis is the formation of potentially deadly blood clots in the artery (arterial thrombosis) or vein (venous thrombosis).

When a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the leg, it is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

If a blood clot travels in the circulation and lodges in the lungs, it is known as a pulmonary embolism (PE).

Together, DVT and PE are known as venous thromboembolism (VTE), a dangerous and potentially deadly medical condition. DVT + PE = VTE.

Are you at risk?

Each year VTE affects 1 to 3 out of every 1,000 people

Among those who are age 70 or older, this increases to between 2 to 7 per 1,000 people.

Being in hospital can increase your risk, due to bed rest or reduced mobility.

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is a common type of irregular heartbeat, especially if you are older than 75. AFib increases with age. Since women generally live longer than men, more women than men experience AFib.

During or after surgery can also increase due to factors unrelated to surgery, especially if you are aged over 60.

If you are older than 60, knowing the following signs and symptoms of thrombosis could save your life:

People with DVT might experience:

Pain or tenderness in the calf and/or thigh

Swelling of the leg, foot and/or ankle

Redness and/or noticeable discoloration

Warmth

People with PE often experience:

Shortness of breath or rapid breathing

Chest pain (may be worse upon deep breath)

Rapid heart rate

Light headedness and/or passing out

If you experience any of these signs, it is important that you seek medical advice from your doctor.

Blood clots can often be fatal, but the good news is that many, if not most cases are preventable:

Keep moving. Make sure to get up and walk around intermittently during extensive periods of sitting. This includes being in hospital, on long flights, or at your desk all day if you have an office job.

Talk to your doctor about wearing compression stockings. This helps maintain blood flow in your legs.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight is a major risk factor for blood clots. Try to have a balanced diet, incorporating protein, vegetables and complex carbohydrates.

Know if your family has a history of thrombosis. You could be at greater risk if someone in your family has experienced blood clots.

Ask your doctor for a risk assessment any time you are admitted to hospital. Up to 60 percent of blood clot cases occur during or after hospitalization.

Drink plenty of water. It is important that you stay hydrated. Dehydration can also increase your risk of developing blood clot.

For more information about thrombosis click on www.worldthrombosisday.org

World Thrombosis Day, now in its fifth year, is a year-long campaign that takes place on 13th October and focuses attention on the underappreciated condition of thrombosis.

Online Therapy for You

Click For Therapy 

Those in search of a trusted local therapist can now make light work of the hunt as a dedicated new directory launches. Clickfortherapy.com brings together qualified therapists across a number of different disciplines around the country in a single easy to search platform for both therapy newcomers and existing patients alike.

The directory is intended to help those who might be reticent to access therapy due to social stigma to source the help they need within an easily accessible, friendly and professional environment. Likewise, those who have struggled to find a suitable practitioner can simply log on and connect with a qualified, local therapist to support mental or physical wellbeing.

The specialist platform also offers visitors insight into the various types of therapy available, helping users to understand and define their unique needs. For those new to therapy who feel that it might benefit their health to speak to a professional, clickfortherapy.com acts as a confidential resource with therapist profiles and specialities acting as an easy introduction to the help on offer. Its vision is to become the country’s leading holistic platform encompassing all forms of therapy.

Understanding that there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to mental health, clickfortherapy.com gives users access to all major and recognised forms of treatment, from hypnotherapy to mindfulness training to the rapidly growing Bowen Therapy. Users can learn about what’s involved with each approach and then move ahead on their journey to wellness by finding the right treatment and therapist for their needs in their local area.

A core part of clickfortherapy’s mission is changing the commonly held perceptions which surround the act of seeking therapy. While many people benefit enormously from quality therapy, the directory recognises there are still a number of stigmas which can prevent some from seeking appropriate treatment.

Steve Sharp from clickfortherapy.com says, “Having completed a substantial amount of personal and professional research, it dawned on me that what people really need is a service to access therapy that they can trust. Experiencing any sort of health issue – be it mental or physical – is often a time of great uncertainty and stress.

“What we wanted to achieve was to create a place where people can go and where they feel they can trust the advice and recommendations they’re given.

“With more and more people turning to search engines to research health issues, it makes sense to offer people a trusted, wide-ranging service to find the therapies they need which is rooted in local service provision.”

To find out more please click on www.clickfortherapy.com

Health & Fitness Advice

Daley Thompson Fitness Programme

Daley Thompson CBE

Daley Thompson CBE is a former British decathlete who has just launched a new fitness programme

Daley5Minutes is programme devised to provide people with easy to follow exercise plans in order to help them become fitter and healthier in just five minutes a day.

Daley is considered by many to be the greatest decathlete the world has ever seen, having broken four world records, won two Olympic gold medals, three commonwealth titles and wins in the World and European Championships.

In 1984 he became the first decathlete to hold the European, World and Olympic titles simultaneously.  He is now regular commentator on athletics, a charity ambassador and has just launched Daley5Minutes  

‘Daley 5 Tips’ for Keeping Fit

Former Olympian Daley Thompson gives us his ‘Daley 5 Tips’ for keeping fit over 60. The good news is that you don’t have to be a world-beating athlete to improve your fitness

1. Sleep well

It might seem strange to associate sleep and fitness. However, sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and has many proven benefits.

Stress and sleep can both affect cardiovascular health. Getting a good amount of sleep can reduce stress and help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

If you are struggling to sleep, you may need to re-think some of your habits. Avoid caffeine, nicotine or alcohol from 4-6 hours before you go to sleep. Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet environment and turn off all electronic devices.  Where possible it would be useful to develop a regular sleep routine so your body gets used to sleeping.

2. Keep hydrated

Whatever your level of exercise and fitness, it’s important to keep hydrated when you exercise. Did you know that around 60% of your body is water and it plays a vital role in every bodily function?

If you are dehydrated not only can it affect your general health it can also impact your ability to exercise. Depending on the level of dehydration you are facing, you may feel tired quicker and find your ability to control your temperature has been reduced.

Water has the additional benefit of helping to fuel your muscles, so make sure you drink before, during and after exercise. Drinking plenty of water may also help you to reduce or prevent cramp and will help you get the most out of your exercise session.

How much you need to drink is not an exact science as there are so many factors that affect your fluid consumption. So listen to your body and if you feel thirsty, drink.

3. Choose the correct clothes and shoes

Whether you are looking to exercise for the first time or workout regularly, the key to your workout clothes is comfort.

Sport and active wear is designed to consider the type of workout you will be undertaking and what type of fabric the wearer will need to be comfortable. For yoga and stretching, a cotton/polyester mix and lycra work well. For high-impact cardio-based exercises like jogging and aerobics, you should consider durable, performance fabrics that are moisture wicking like nylon/cotton blends known for helping you stay dry while sweating.

Also, buy a pair of trainers that are suitable for your workout. It’s worth getting specialist advice particularly if you’re considering starting running or any high impact activity

4. Set SMART goals

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible – Tony Robbins. This quote is key to your exercise journey. What are you trying to achieve? Are you looking to lose weight, improve your fitness, tone up, have fun or just make friends with new people as part of a new hobby or interest?

SMART goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. For example, if you are planning to lose weight – how much are you planning to lose and by when? What steps are you going to take to do it? Are you going to join a slimming club, commit to exercising or cut down on sugar? It’s easy to measure weight loss but are you looking to lose pounds or inches or both?

When you have a goal you are more likely to achieve results. Perhaps you mark off your exercise sessions on a calendar or you weigh yourself once a week so that you can track your progress over time.

5. Mix and match – make your exercise functional

When exercising it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Variety is the key to keeping it fresh and keep yourself motivated. To make the most of your exercise programme, think about modifying your workouts every two weeks. If you keep the same routine your muscles adapt to the programme within six to eight weeks – reducing any improvements you could make.

Don’t worry, I am not suggesting that you turn your back on a sport that you love – but just mix it up a bit and boost the intensity of your workouts. For instance, if you walk or run, try adding some intervals of jogging or faster running or consider adding more hill work to your route.

Also, keep it functional. As you age you need to choose exercises that help with flexibility, balance and co-ordination such as yoga, pilates and barre. Additionally, if you suffer from an existing medical condition, it’s worth consulting your GP before you begin an exercise regime. Good luck and enjoy your fitness journey!

For more information about Daley5Minutes click on www.daleyfiveminutes.co.uk   

Life as a Dementia Carer

Some Days are Diamonds, Some
are Stone

By Izzy Duff at Talking Point

My mother and husband, Bill, had dementia at the same time. It’s a devastating condition, and as the years went on and the condition took its toll, we had to bring in carers for Mum, and then Bill. Mum passed away in 2011 and Bill in 2016.

Mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia after being admitted to hospital with a urine infection. She lived with Bill and me. In the early days they could both manage on their own, but as time went by that changed.  I was working full time as a head teacher in a primary school, so I brought carers in to help with Mum. It’s never easy being a carer – you can’t ever switch off – but it was a comfort to know that Bill and Mum were in safe hands while I wasn’t there.

Bill was a great help when his dementia was in the early stages. Sometimes the three of us went on holiday together. This was only really possible due to Bill and the support he was able to provide with Mum. After Mum died, things changed. Bill’s dementia advanced and he needed full time supervision himself.

In the early days I always thought there would be a line in the sand when I wouldn’t be able to cope with the care responsibilities any more.  For those who are lucky enough not to have experienced dementia first hand, it’s an awful condition, which slowly strips people of their memories, relationships and identity. I thought this line in the sand would be dealing with incontinence, but as the condition progressed in Mum and Bill, I found that so did my ability to provide care.

Dementia can be a lonely disease, and there is still so much stigma surrounding the condition. One day, in 2003, I was googling, looking for answers to questions I had on the condition, when I came across Alzheimer’s Society’s Talking Point. I started reading other people’s posts, which was helpful in itself – it was great to know I wasn’t alone.

I started posting in Talking Point shortly after I discovered it, but drifted away as it became tough to read the posts from people further down the line. I came back when day-to-day life was becoming more difficult. I realised I needed the support of people who understood what I was going through and who had faced the same issues and problems as I was facing. Since then Talking Point has been my main support.

Talking Point is an online community where you can ask questions, share experiences and get information and practical tips on living with dementia with people who are going through, or have had, similar experiences.

I’m now a “moderator”, where I help to look out for new members and welcome them to the online community, signposting and directing members to useful resources, as well as ensuring the rules are upheld. The role is voluntary, but I treat it as a job. A very rewarding one, which has given me a real focus since retiring, especially since Bill passed away.

It was strange at first not being a carer. We had moved house the month before Bill died much more suddenly than I expected in July 2016. I found myself in a brand new apartment all by myself. I have a very different kind of life now, and credit a lot of this to two close friends who are there to cheer me up, or support me when I want to cry.

This clash of emotions always makes me think of the John Denver song, ‘Some Days Are Diamonds, Some Days Are Stone’. I actually have a thread on Talking Point under this name. I wanted to have somewhere where I could post about what life is like now that I’m no longer a carer. I’m confident that when I post on that thread – whether it’s a “diamond” day or a “stone” day that someone will listen to me and respond.

I never did reach that line in the sand and am truly thankful for the support I had.

Talking Point can be reached by clicking on www.alzheimers.org.uk

Memory Walk for Alzheimer's

Gordon Banks urges Support for Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk

England football legend Gordon Banks has made an emotional appeal for the nation to step up and help defeat dementia.  The 1966 World Cup winner opened his heart about his personal experience of dementia as he urged the public to support Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk – the charity’s flagship fundraising campaign.

Memory Walk will run until mid-October, with 100,000 people expected to take part in 40 walks nationwide to raise money which will enable Alzheimer’s Society to provide vital information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by the condition.

Dementia is the biggest health and social care challenge facing society. In the UK, someone develops dementia every three minutes and, while one million people will be living with dementia across the nation by 2021, dementia research still trails far behind other health conditions, after decades of underfunding. 

As there’s currently no cure for dementia, it’s vital that people living with dementia receive good quality care that empowers them to live well and helps them to do the things they enjoy. Yet less than 5% of all dementia research, globally, addresses the care and support that people with dementia rely on every day.

Thanks in part to Memory Walk fundraisers, Alzheimer’s Society is now leading the way in rebalancing investment between biomedical and care research, having invested £5.6 million in three Centres of Excellence across the UK, and as a founding funder of the UK Dementia Research Institute, supported the investment of £20 million for a care and technology work stream.

Banks, who is an Alzheimer’s Society ambassador, has a special interest in the charity’s research initiatives, having lost his brother to dementia and having seen fellow Three Lions heroes hit by the condition. He says he is more determined than ever to support the charity.

“The fight against dementia is a cause that is very close to my heart,” says Banks.

“I feel more passionate about it than ever because I lost my brother to Alzheimer’s disease and some of my old England team-mates have been affected by dementia.

“I know it can be a really horrible, cruel disease. So I want to get stuck in to raise funds to help our scientists find a cure.”

There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK but too many face dementia alone without adequate support. Alzheimer’s Society aims to reach everyone affected by dementia to ensure they are connected to the support and information they need through services including its National Dementia Helpline, online forum Talking Point, publications, and dementia advisers for face-to-face help.

The 80-year-old Banks took part in the Alzheimer’s Society Stoke Memory Walk on Sunday, September 9 – one of the dozens of walks nationwide this autumn, which the charity hopes will generate £9 million.

“I do weekly walks with a bunch of former Stoke players, with the old boys’ association, and they’re hoping to take part in the Memory Walk which is great because it means a lot to me,” he says.

“I have a personal connection to dementia because of family and friends. It’s obvious that more and more people are affected by dementia everywhere, so we need to act now as a matter of urgency.

“I just hope people nationwide can back the Memory Walk campaign. We need to get everyone behind the fight against dementia.”

Gordon’s brother David died with dementia in 2012 and that family tragedy inspires the former England, Leicester and Stoke goalkeeper.

“It hurts still because I had such good memories of growing up with him,” says Banks.

“My old England team-mates have been like brothers to me so I really did find it very upsetting when I heard they’d got dementia or memory problems. Imagine you are half-way through your life and all of a sudden you can’t remember anything. Not just the dim and distant past but also the recent past.

“Thankfully, I know Alzheimer’s Society is doing what it can to help people who have dementia in every way they possibly can. By providing better support and funding scientists to find a way to cure dementia – let’s just hope that one day our researchers can find one.”

Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Hughes says, “Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer – someone develops dementia every three minutes, with 1 million set to develop the condition by 2021.

“We are enormously grateful that Gordon and the friends in Stoke are rising to the huge challenge it poses by uniting with Alzheimer’s Society to help us defeat dementia.

“Sadly, dementia devastates lives, but every pound raised through Memory Walk will help Alzheimer’s Society provide vital information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by the disease.”

Alzheimer’s Society is urgently calling on people to unite against dementia and take part in Memory Walk – register now at www.memorywalk.org.uk

Walking for Health

The Health Benefits
of Walking

Walking is good for you. A recent study in the news shows tat a daily stroll of just 35 minutes can slash the risk of a stroke in older people. But what type is best? And what benefits does it bring? AXA PPP healthcare’s physiotherapist, Kristopher Robertson answers the most burning walking questions…

What physical benefits might I see from regular walking?

A stronger heart: Exercise works your heart and makes it stronger over time. Having a stronger heart will mean your resting heart rate is lower as it doesn’t need to beat as fast. Having a strong heart helps to improve blood flow to all parts of the body.

Strength: Brisk walking builds strength in many muscles including the lower limbs. You may even find your core muscles become strengthened through brisk walking.

Prevention: Brisk walking for at 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week will help give you a stronger heart which can lower the risk of some heart diseases and conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

What are the mental health benefits of regular walking?

According to Dr Mark Winwood, psychological expert at AXA PPP healthcare, exercise can help develop resilience, improve low moods and boost self-esteem. And walking is a great way to start.

When you’re active, your brain releases dopamine and serotonin – the ‘feel-good’ chemicals, which are known to improve your mood. It also reduces harmful changes in the brain caused by stress and can help us to see possibilities, instead of feeling defeated. In other words, it can help us get some perspective on life’s problems!

What is a healthy resting heart rate?

The healthier you are, the lower your resting heart rate is likely to be – we recommend measuring your heart rate at the beginning of the month, and again after four weeks to see if there’s any difference. Most adults have an average resting heart rate of 60-100 beats per minute. If you have any concerns then it’s best to speak to your GP.

Is brisk walking better than jogging?

Jogging results in heavier breathing, and harder work for your muscles, so is considered a more vigorous exercise, compared to brisk walking. Whether you choose to walk or jog mostly comes down to your preference and level of ability. Starting daily jogs if you’re fairly inactive will place a lot of strain through your muscles, which may cause tightness in the lower body and potentially stiffness in joints. Like any exercise, it’s always best to build up gradually, making sure your body is adapting well to the increases in activity.

Some people simply don’t enjoy jogging and would rather go for a brisk walk. It’s important to enjoy the exercise you do, so you should never force an exercise just because it’s potentially better for you.

Does it matter where I walk? Is walking uphill better for my muscles?

Different terrains will train different muscles. Uneven terrain, such as sand and rocky ground, will work your ankle muscles, while walking up hills will work your calf muscles more, and generally will be more challenging from a cardiovascular aspect.

The muscles in my feet feel a bit uncomfortable when I’ve been out walking but I wear trainers when I do it. Have you got any tips?

You might be wearing trainers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the correct footwear. The footwear you use can have an impact in different ways. If there isn’t enough padding in your shoes this can mean pressure being placed directly on places like your heel or the balls of your feet, and likewise if there is poor support in your shoes (such as if your trainers are worn out) you may put extra load on some of the muscles and soft tissue structures in the foot, causing some minor strains. So best to check your footwear is providing support under the arches.

Ironically, brand new shoes can also cause pain, because your feet may not have had time to adapt to them before hitting the 30 mins brisk walking. To help avoid this, it’s best to wear the shoes in before hitting serious miles in them.

A good way to deal with some post walk pains in your feet is to make sure you stretch! It’s not just the sole of the foot that needs a stretch though, make sure the calf muscles are stretched too, as they can also play a role in causing stiffness and pain in the feet. Another good way to work out some of the tightness and aches in your foot is to roll a golf ball or tennis ball under your feet.

For information about ageing well visit the AXA PPP healthcare website at www.axappphealthcare.co.uk 

Improve your Wellbeing

Boost Your Health
with Irena Royal Jelly

Irene Stein, founder of Irena Royal Jelly

If you’re looking for a natural way to boost your health and improve your physical and mental energy, then treat yourself to Irena Royal Jelly.

Irena Royal Jelly contains fresh Royal Jelly and Korean Ginseng, which, according to Chinese medicine, resembles the human body and is one of the reasons it has such a positive healing effect. It is also effective in fighting depression and fatigue.

Irene Stein has now brought Irena Royal Jelly to the UK so that you can enjoy its benefits and you can buy this directly from her and discuss your particular needs and health concerns.

“It’s important for me to speak to each person individually, so that I can be aware of your specific conditions and arrive at the right dosage,” explains Irene.

“Sixtyplusurfers readers can always feel free to phone me directly with any questions that you may have on 07831 64 11 99.”

Irene’s tells her uplifting story. “I was born to a mother ahead of her time and brought up on black molasses, cider vinegar and told about the importance of steady breathing. These early introductions worked for me and became part of my own belief, and when I discovered Royal Jelly in 1974 through a Greek Bee Keeper, my mother knew all about it, even though it wasn’t readily available.

My dear mother at age 82

“Royal Jelly was initially sold in Harrods and Fortnum & Mason for kings, queens, popes and celebrities, at a king’s ransom, but not for the average person, so it was difficult to buy. I became fascinated and when I tried it, I soon noticed a difference in my health. I suffered badly with extreme migraine headaches that were with me from puberty. These symptoms disappeared completely after I took Royal Jelly.”

Royal Jelly also helped Irene with her menopause symptoms. In 1980 when she had a hysterectomy, she was back at her desk within a week as a result of taking it. For most patients, recovery time takes at least six to eight weeks. No such extended recuperation was necessary for Irene. This is because Royal Jelly contains estriol, a natural form of oestrogen.

Irene also found that she did not need harsh HRT treatments after her surgery. As a result of using Royal Jelly she did not suffer from the usual hot flushes, night sweats or other hormonal imbalance symptoms, often associated with the menopause.

But that’s not all, another natural ingredient of Irena Royal Jelly is Capsicum Minimum which has a strong circulatory stimulant that increases blood flow to all tissues. It has antiseptic and counter irritant properties and this is used to reduce pain.

The addition of Echinacea in the product has a powerful effect on the immune system, acting as a natural antiseptic. All this, together with a host of other natural herbs and tinctures are included in this pleasant tasting, easy to take one little daily 5ml drink.

But it wasn’t by chance that this powerful combination of ingredients proved to be so effective in treating anything so simple as coughs, colds, menopause symptoms and aiding the healing of the post-operative process.

Irene went to great lengths to ensure that only the best ingredients were used in Irena Royal Jelly, and in the most effective proportions. To arrive at this formula, she worked with renowned bioorganic chemist, Dr Emile Coufalik and Dr Ravi Ponniah, a master in complex homeopathy. The two men ensured that Irena Royal Jelly would be one of the most powerful all-natural immunostimulants on the market.    

“In the 44+ years that I have been involved with this remarkable substance and my unique formulation, there has never been any harmful side-effects or contra-indications in any way shape or form, including diabetics who are actually able to lower their units of insulin they take. Many people who believe they are allergic to Ginseng or any other ingredient find that it does not apply to this formulation. 

“I think it is true to say that I don’t actually resemble my 79 years,” says Irene, “and this applies to my skin and hair condition, and also my mental and physical energy. Things like memory, retention, absorption, clarity, focus, agility, still seem to be firing on all cylinders. I still play tennis and I am able to outplay players that I believe are much stronger than myself.

“I have seen the benefits of taking Royal Jelly in other people too. During the early part of my experiences with Royal Jelly I was fascinated by the way in which my mother’s arthritis disappeared completely in her 70’s and I watched her greying hair return back to its natural colour.

“One of the many pluses to my Unique Formulation is the way in which hair is improved, in condition, volume growth, and the prevention and reversal of the greying process, as well as stopping all forms of hair loss and creating regrowth. 

“I have always had a number of practitioners sharing my vision and recommending the product to their patients. The biggest growth has been the recommendation from one person to another,” says Irene.

Another happy experience is the fact that I don’t need reading glasses in the same way I used to, and I now only use my glasses to read very fine print if I am in dark areas. I don’t go down with coughs, colds, and flu and I don’t remember the last time I did.

“Finally, from this amazing learning experience, I still continue to astonish myself with the results that I see and hear about Royal Jelly. I am still passionate and thrilled to bits with the way in which my Unique Formulation changes peoples’ lives, and have no intention of retiring…

“Why would I give up my Magnificent Obsession!”

If you would like to find out more about Irena Royal Jelly and its benefits, then take a look at Irene Stein’s informative website at www.irenesteinrj.com

Or give Irene Stein a call on Telephone 07831 64 11 99 and find out how you can benefit from Irena Royal Jelly.

Irene is always happy to help and advise on Irena Royal Jelly and how it can help with your health and wellbeing.

Email: ireneroyaljelly@gmail.com

Stylish Hearing Aid

New Ear Candy

New Styletto targets Brits ‘too embarrassed’ to wear hearing aids 

Over half of people might who need a hearing aid aren’t doing so because of discomfort (57%) and embarrassment (56%) according to a recent survey of UK consumers. In light of this, experts are warning that in choosing not to wear a hearing aid, many could be seriously damaging their quality of life.

The survey was commissioned by hearing industry innovator Signia, who have just this week launched the NEW Styletto – a hearing device which uses design, style and technology to fill a gap in an otherwise untapped health device market, with the intention of making hearing aids as fashionable as eyeglasses.

Styletto is a hearing aid that consumers will be proud to wear, and which addresses the needs of ‘baby boomers’ for whom quality, design and the freedom to stay active are far more important than for previous generations.

The wearable tech revolution is reaching deep into the healthcare industry and is poised to disrupt one of its billion-pound markets. With cutting-edge technology giving them the AirPods treatment, hearing aids are changing forever and the end result should see consumers happier to wear such devices.

New designs feature a raft of innovative, patented technology – including rechargeable li-ion batteries, pocket-sized charging docks, ‘natural’ voice processing and remote care delivered via the app – all the trends and ease of use you’d expect from your latest mainstream tech products, and all with a design language comparable to other premium wearable technology.

Styletto by Signia is leading the charge. This game-changing hearing aid offers cutting-edge design and ground-breaking technology without compromising functionality or comfort.

Completely button-free, Styletto by Signia comes in three on-trend colourways for design-conscious consumers. Styletto takes its style cues from tactile brushed soft metals and one-piece casing. It can be recharged on the go in its ergonomic case, with no compromise to battery life.

Borrowing from the usability of modern wearable technology, the Styletto also provides users with freedom and flexibility unlike any other hearing aid before. The device charges exactly like a smartphone device with fully rechargeable built in lithium-ion batteries.

It also comes with its own portable charging dock which allows up to four days of continuous use on-the-go without the need to go home to power up. The charging dock is so small it easily fits into a shirt pocket making it really portable.

The app delivers a level of support never previously available with hearing aids. Technical and audio support are available directly from within the app, while Signia’s NX Audiology delivers industry-leading sound quality, with a particular focus on natural-sounding voices.

The survey also revealed that for those who did wear a hearing aid, 71% wished they had got one sooner. The main reasons for this included that it would give them a better social life  (63%), better mental/emotional health (39%), better performance at work (23%), less fatigue in the evening (19%).

Hearing expert Geoffrey Cooling explains, “Experts have long been flagging the increasing rates of consumers who do not wear a hearing aid, but who are damaging their quality of life in not doing so.

“It’s a real shame that so many people are put off by wearing a hearing aid when so many of them would really benefit. Audiology technologies have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years and people need to be made aware this. It can be really damaging to let hearing loss go untreated, and it can be really isolating experience.”

Maarten Barmentlo, Signia’s marketing lead says, “Hearing aids have long been associated as being out of date and not at the cutting edge of today’s cool technology and we wanted to change that perception. Styletto has implemented the best possible technology to ensure that not only does the product deliver incredible sound, but is also a very user-friendly device.”

For further information please click on www.signia-pro.co.uk/styletto

Health Benefits of Chocolate

Why is Chocolate
Good for You?

Scientific studies have actually proved that chocolate makes you feel good because it’s full of a mix of mood-elevating chemicals, including caffeine, theobromine, tyrosine and tryptophan. It’s important to use dark chocolate with a high cocoa solid content as it offers more health benefits than milk chocolate, it is also lower in fat and contains antioxidants.

Did you know that small amounts of dark chocolate can boost your health, from improving your mood to helping stop a cough?

With the help of Ceitanna Cooper, Associate Nutritionist at AXA PPP healthcare we’ve put together the top 5 health benefits of having chocolate (a few squares or a small bar) as part of a well-balanced diet:

1. It can cheer you up

The taste, smell and texture of chocolate stimulates feel-good areas of the brain. Chocolate also contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that stimulates production of serotonin, the brain’s natural anti-depressant. Experts equate the feelings it induces to those we experience when we fall in love.

2. Helps heart health

Eating chocolate can lower blood pressure, thin the blood (reducing stroke risk) and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Ceitanna Cooper says this is due to chocolate’s high content of chemicals called flavonoids. “Flavonoids also seem to stimulate the body to make more nitric oxide, which helps to widen and relax blood vessels, which may help to lower blood pressure,” says Ceitanna.

3. Protects your arteries

Flavonoids in chocolate also help to stop LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidising, helping to prevent the furring up of arteries. Flavonoids contain more than 50% of an unusual type of saturated fat called stearic acid, present in cocoa butter, that doesn’t’ raise bad cholesterol and may even increase levels of the protective good cholesterol.

4. Calms coughs

Chocolate also contains a chemical called theobromine, which has been shown to suppress coughing by acting on the vagus nerve, which carries messages from the central nervous system to the brain.

5. Brain benefits

A chemical called epicatechin – found in cocoa and green tea – may also help protect the brain against the formation of sticky proteins or amyloid plaques which develop in Alzheimer’s disease.

“We all know that too much sugary or fatty food can contribute to obesity and other health problems, but the good news for chocolate lovers is that small amounts can also have some health benefits. So there’s no need to feel guilty about indulging your cravings now and then, as long as it’s part of a well-balanced diet.”

What sort of chocolate is best?

Generally, the darker the chocolate (look for 70% and above cocoa), the higher the flavonoid content. Flavonoids are found in foods like broccoli, onions, fruit, as well as tea, and may help protect people against some types of cancer and heart disease.

Ceitanna Cooper says, “It’s most likely that you get more flavonoids in a dark chocolate that lists cocoa beans, cacao, chocolate liquor or cocoa mass on its ingredients list, so check the label. Milk chocolate tends to have very few flavonoids and white chocolate has none.”

Does chocolate make a good snack?

Surprisingly, dark chocolate is classified as ‘low GI’ food, which means a small bar makes a suitable snack between meals as it doesn’t cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels after being eaten. This is because the fat that it contains slows down the absorption of the sugar.

The caffeine content of chocolate has also been shown to help boost concentration and energy temporarily. But if you’re curbing your caffeine intake then be sure to remember that chocolate counts as a caffeinated product! Before you rush off to grab the nearest chocolate bar, it’s best if you regard it as a ‘treat’, rather than a health food. If you eat it in small amounts, alongside a healthy, balanced diet, it shouldn’t contribute to weight gain and it will certainly not do you any harm.

What to find out more about the benefits of food? Visit AXA PPP healthcare’s diet and nutrition centre

Quit Smoking

Quit Smoking Without Piling on the Pounds

It has been reported that smoking rates will fall over the coming years to 1 in 10 people smoking by 2023 – so is it time for you to quit? There’s no point waiting for the new year to roll in to pledge to quit smoking, why not start now? We know that quitting isn’t easy, with a common worry being gaining weight, but quitting smoking doesn’t necessarily equal weight gain.

You most likely know the health risks and may have tried several times already to give up. However, be reassured, that it’s never too late to stop as studies show that people who quit after their mid-thirties recover an average of six hours of life for every day of smoking they avoid.

Why should I quit?

Smoking not only increases your risk of lung cancer, but could mean you are twice as likely to have a heart attack as non-smokers. Smoking can also contribute to fertility problems, gum disease and COPD.

Is it too late to quit?

If the time is right for you to quit smoking there are a few simple measures that can really help get you started and keep you on track:

First and foremost set a stop date in the future and stick to it.

Rally support from your family and friends who may want to stop with you.

Visit your doctor or local stop smoking clinic. They will be able to provide advice regarding the many quitting aids available to help you such as gum, tablets or inhalators.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, don’t stop giving up. If you fail the first time, try again. Keep trying. It is never too late to save your life.

Why do you gain weight after quitting?

Try not to let the prospect of putting on weight put you off quitting smoking. Not everyone puts on weight and, even if you do gain some pounds, certain strategies can help you control it. The benefits of stopping smoking more than make up for the negatives of putting on weight. Although you may have gained a few pounds, you’ve stopped smoking and taken a big step toward a healthier life.

AXA PPP healthcare recommends these steps to avoid weight gain after quitting:

Exercise to beat weight gain: regular exercise may prevent about half the weight gain expected after a year of quitting smoking. It burns off calories and reduces cravings for cigarettes. Build up to at least 150 minutes (two-and-a-half hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as fast walking, swimming or cycling, every week. Moderate-intensity activity means working hard enough to make you breathe more heavily than normal and feel slightly warmer than usual. The more exercise you do, the more calories you’ll burn.

Use stop smoking medicines to prevent more pounds: stop smoking medicines such as nicotine-replacement therapy and the prescription tablets Zyban (bupropion) and Champix (varenicline) can double your chances of quitting successfully and also seem to help reduce weight gain in the first few months.

Don’t diet while quitting: studies suggest it’s better to tackle stopping smoking first before trying to lose any weight gained while quitting. If you’re really worried about putting on weight, ask your GP to refer you to a dietitian for a dietary plan tailored to your individual needs. This plan will guide you on how much to eat, based on your current weight, age, gender and activity level, and stop you gaining more weight.

Want more information about how to stop smoking without piling on the pounds? Please click on AXA PPP healthcare

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