Life expectancy is up. As a UK resident, you’re now expected to hit the venerable age of 81¼. With new workplace pension laws in place, most of us should be able to stop work at some point – but will you be able to enjoy a healthy retirement when you get there? That’s up to you. One thing’s for sure: you can’t just sit back and trust to luck that you’ll be able to kick ass like Liam Neeson in your 60s. Put some preparation in now and you might just hurdle the age-related pitfalls.
Attack-proof your heart
OK, ‘proof’ might be an exaggeration, but there’s evidence that exercise not only reduces the risk of a heart attack but also protects the heart from damage if a cardiac arrest does occur.
Stay young with... Lots of walking. ‘Taking 10,000 steps a day is the key to avoiding a host of heart-related diseases,’ says Dr Michael Ozner, author of Heart Attack Proof. Download the Runtastic Pedometer from play.google.com and start pacing right now.
Osteoporosis – which causes fragile bones – affects around three million people in the UK. It can be slowed with medication, but there’s no cure. Instead, work on improving bone density right now.
Stay young with... Rack squats. Grip a kettlebell in each hand, position them so they rest on your forearms and squat to below parallel. ‘Aim for five sets of ten, once a week,’ says strength coach Dan John. The compression this creates forces your bones to increase density.
Extend your life
It doesn’t take much. According to research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 150 minutes of vigorous exercise a week is enough to add 3.4 years to life expectancy for anyone – and you’ll expect to live 7.2 years longer than those who are inactive and obese.
Stay young with... This simple 20-minute daily workout. Warm up for two minutes and do four rounds. Rest for two minutes between rounds.
24 squats • 24 lunges
12 jump squats • 12 jump lunges
There are 7.7 million new cases of dementia each year. ‘Some simple dietary choices can protect the health of your brain,’ says Margaret Rayman, professor of nutritional medicine at the University of Surrey,
Stay young with... ‘Fish, olive oil, fruit, veg and omega 3 fatty acids,’ says Rayman. Kick-start the process with MF’s muesli: mix flaked almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, berries, brazil nuts and oats, and serve with natural yogurt.
Senile sarcopenia, or age-related muscular deterioration, is the key factor in getting weaker as you age. Adding muscle now will give you more to work with later.
Stay young with... Two 15-minute workouts a week – that’s enough, according to a study from Southampton University. ‘Significant improvements can be seen by maintaining muscular tension for around 60-90 seconds, equating to a set of eight to 12 reps,’ says senior researcher James Fisher.
Don't blow this joint
Keeping your shoulders, knees and hips healthy means less pain, fewer hospital visits and no need for replacements.
Stay young with... ‘Exercises that strengthen the muscles around the joints,’ says strength and conditioning coach Tom Eastham. Using a resistance band lets you work without putting lots of pressure on your joints. For shoulders, three sets of 15 curls and pull-aparts should do the trick.
Recharge your liver
Liver disease is currently the fifth-biggest killer in the UK, and you don’t need to be an alcoholic to get it – just having a couple every day or two is enough to send your liver into a dangerous spiral.
Stay young with... Timed dry spells. The key timeframe to remember is 48 hours – that’s how long it takes your liver to start repairing itself. Take two days off the booze, at least once a week, and you won’t have to ditch it entirely later in life.
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From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.