University of the Third Age (U3A) Kennet has relaunched its monthly talks and is offering a series of on-line advisory talks aimed at the health and well-being of its nearly 700 members.
This week nearly 100 members enjoyed an on-line talk and presentation by Sir Muir Gray entitled ‘How to stay well and increase wellbeing, physically and mentally, during the lockdown, and live longer and better in the years to come.’
Sir Muir Gray has worked for the NHS since 1972 and is an internationally renowned authority on healthcare systems worldwide. He has occupied a variety of roles including as a Consultant in Public Health in Oxford University Hospital NHS Trust and a professor in the University of Oxford’s department of Primary Care Health Sciences. He is also the author of several books, including “Sod 70”!
Sir Muir told members,“ Ageing by itself is not a cause of major problems until the late nineties. Most of the problems that occur as we live longer, based on my work over the last fifty years with people living longer, are due to three factors – loss of fitness physical and mental; disease; negative beliefs and pessimistic attitudes.”
He stated, “It is wrong to assume that everyone over 70 is developing dementia, should rest as much as possible, and needs care, namely, things done for them, when they would be better doing things for themselves even with a bit of a struggle.
We now know that even a week in hospital can have significant adverse effects, called the ‘deconditioning syndrome’, because of the forced inactivity, so three months, or possibly more, of inactivity at home is a challenge which should not be underestimated in its capacity to do harm. What is needed is to increase activity, physical, cognitive and emotional.”
He believes that lockdown has offered an amazing opportunity – the ‘elixir of life’ because we are cut off from the distractions of everyday life.
“The elixir of life comes through learning and this is the ideal chance to learn for the next phase of our lives.
So, let’s use this period of time to reflect on what we want to achieve, to assume that we might live into our nineties, and therefore to take steps to reduce our risk of dementia, frailty and dependence on others, either family or the State.”
Sir Muir recommended members follow some simple rules to achieve this aim which are outlined more fully in the book ‘The Hundred Year Life’ by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott. Here are the rules:
- Understand what is going on inside you
- Don’t accept what most people say about ageing – be positive
- Become more active physically, get even fitter
- Become more active mentally, learn new skills
- Become more active socially, for example by helping other people even more
- Get more sleep
- Be cautious users of healthcare
- Eat more plants and eat fewer wrapped foods
- Define yourself or be defined.
More about U3A Kennet can be found in a previous marlborough.news article.