Thursday, 29 December 2016

How To Beat The Middle Age Health Curses

Health Curse

Eight in every 10 people aged 40 to 60 are overweight, drink too much or get too little exercise. The lifestyle of this busy “sandwich generation” means we are storing up problems for the future.

Experts are now warning that if they don’t make changes they could end up facing cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Consequently Public Health England wants people to turn over a new leaf in 2017 and get fit. “Modern life is different to even 30 years ago,” says Professor Muir Gray, the campaign’s clinical director.

“People now drive to work and sit at work.” But you can change this with our guide to help you beat weight gain, reduce your alcohol intake, boost activity levels and find a less stressful way to live.

Health Curse

Middle-age spread is not a myth. Women become susceptible at 38 and men at 44, according to a new study, and from then on tend to put on a pound a year.

But you can counteract it with these tips.

1. “Use a smaller plate,” says Dr Sally Norton, a leading NHS weightloss surgeon and creator of weightloss website

“A meat portion should be no larger than your palm while carbs, fruit or veg should be the size of a fist.”

2. Delaying breakfast makes the body tap into its glycogen stores which makes it burn fat. “The effects are magnified if you exercise before breakfast,” says health coach Michele Kaye.

3. If you’re eating dairy, choose low-fat products. These have the same amount of calcium as their full-fat counterparts but with fewer calories.

4. Eat protein at every meal. If you don’t eat enough regularly, the body will borrow protein from the muscles. Eating protein will help maintain muscle mass and keep you feeling fuller for longer. “Aim for 100g of protein a day,” says nutritionist Sally Norton.

5. Make eating low-calorie food enjoyable. “No-points soup ” can be made from tomatoes, courgettes and Tabasco . Each time you drop a dress size buy yourself a new item of clothing to celebrate.

Health Curse

6. If you enjoy a glass of Pinot, try watering it down with soda water or lemonade to make a spritzer and you’ll cut calories too.

7. Have a day off drinking each week. “The benefi t is that your body doesn’t become so used to alcohol ,” says Professor Paul Wallace, Drinkaware’s chief medical adviser. “ The more you consume, the more your body gets used to it.”

8. Create another routine. If you start drinking when you sit in front of the TV, have a hot drink first or go for a walk after dinner.

9. Sip water or a soft drink between alcoholic drinks and use a smaller glass at home, 125ml not 250ml. This will help you spread one 750ml bottle over a few days.

10. Try a calimocho – a popular drink in Spain – by diluting red wine with Diet Coke . It’s tastier and more refreshing than you might think.

11. “If there’s one place people often drink far more than they should, it’s at dinner parties with close friends,” says Professor Wallace. He counsels giving your guests something to sip on apart from wine, letting guests top up their own glasses and serving low-alcohol varieties.

12. When you drink, don’t feel you have to finish the bottle. Instead pour leftovers into an icecube tray, or cork the bottle and use it to flavour your cooking.

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We are all going to live longer but “the increase in healthy life expectancy has not been as dramatic as the growth of life expectancy,” says a recent report in The Lancet.

Health Curse

If your waist circumference is less than half your height – a measure that most health professionals consider to be a decent marker of longevity – there is still more you can do to ensure a healthy and active middle-age .

13. Stand up four times an hour. It is too tempting to flop on the sofa at the end of a demanding day and we do so increasingly as we age, often with the TV remote .

14. Walk around more. It’s lowstress, low-impact and easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Studies link it to everything from improved heart health to a decreased risk of stroke – 10,000 steps a day is a bit more than two miles. Hop off the bus earlier, walk and use the stairs not the lift.

15. To increase stamina and burn more calories, introduce interval training when you walk by alternating between two minutes of fast walking followed by two minutes of slow.

16. Look for opportunities to do “loaded carries”. You don’t need to spend money in a gym, instead look for ways to carry weights in day-to-day life. Try to incorporate them into your routine, whether that is a big shop twice a week or some DIY.


One of the reasons fat accumulates around the midriff is the presence of the stress hormone cortisol, says nutritionist Amelia Freer. Adrenaline and cortisol are released to provide energy to enable us to react to dangerous situations but a side effect is the creation of glucose which has nowhere to go .

17. Stay hydrated. Dehydration can worsen stress as can long periods without food. “Regular meals and not eating carbs on their own will help,” says Amelia Freer.

Health Curse

18. Smiling offloads stress. “It relaxes facial muscles and we tend to experience the emotion that goes with the expression,” says life coach Dr Mariette Jansen.

19, Breathing exercises can help. “Breathe in for a count of four, pushing your tummy out, then hold the breath for a count of seven and breathe out through your mouth for a count of eight until your lungs feel empty,” she says.

20. Mindfulness is proven to reduce stress. “Focus on the ‘now’,” says Dr Jansen. “Tell yourself that you are enjoying a cup of tea and that’s all that matters.”

  • Take the How Are You Quiz to get a health score based on your lifestyle habits at



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