Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
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Only around 28 when the show first aired back in 1975, playing Barbara Good helped to launch Kendal’s career. The actress then moved onto stage work and also guest appeared in the likes of Doctor Who and Inside No.9. More recently, after gaining praise for her immaculate health in her mid-70s, Kendal opened up about her regimented health and fitness routine, which has kept her in tip-top condition throughout her lengthy career.
Admitting that although her passion for exercise is mainly what keeps any looming health ailments at bay, Kendal also revealed that the genetics in her family may also play a role, calling her mother an “amazing older woman”.
She said: “I don’t know what blood we have in our family, but she was one of those fantastically lively women who run up and down stairs all day.
“Actually, she was always telling people that she was older than she was, so she seemed even more amazing. That’s a good trick.”
Partly the role of good genes; and not the cosmetic surgeon’s knife. Kendal has been able to maintain her petite, gamine figure that viewers grew to know from The Good Life, which first aired more than 30 years ago.
Going on to claim that variety is the spice of life, the star went on to list the numerous workout routines she has “mastered” and how not doing them three times a week affects her body.
She added: “I work out three times a week, a mixture of stretching, yoga and weights. I’ve also mastered press-ups. I’m so pleased. Now, if I could only stand on my head. [If] I [do not] do my exercises I can really feel it.”
Explaining more about why she has such a passion for exercise, Kendal shared: “It can really change the way you feel and it doesn’t cost anything. That and sleep – and lots of body lotion. Life gets better with age. You are more at ease with yourself.”
In fact, the star said that if she gets any less than seven to eight hours of sleep a night it has a major effect on her health, partly due to her age.
It is not only getting a good amount of quality sleep and partaking in exercise that keeps Kendal fit, following a strict healthy lifestyle has also meant that she has never taken drugs and only smoked occasionally during the 1970s.
“I smoked all through the 70s, on and off, but to me it’s like having a piece of chewing gum, it’s absolutely not addictive,” she said.
“In this job, I have to smoke four or five cigarettes a day, and when I’ve done that before I’ve managed to stop with no trouble whatsoever.
“I’m not incredibly against cigarettes, but I am incredibly against drugs, and I know everybody will say they’re the same, but cigarettes don’t rot your brain.
“They might kill you or damage your lungs, but they will not change your personality, and I’ve seen how drugs can destroy people.”
This healthy concoction of exercising regularly, not smoking, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet that has worked so well for Kendal is also highly recommended by medical professionals and medical bodies like the NHS. In fact, the Department of Health and Social Care described inactivity as a “silent killer” due to the fact that it could put individuals at risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Smoking is also the biggest cause of death and illness in the UK according to the NHS, with around 78,000 people in the UK dying from smoking and many more living with debilitating smoking-related illnesses.
It is also proven that those adults who eat a healthy diet live longer and have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. With a healthy diet, individuals can also help to manage chronic diseases and avoid complications that may arise in older age.
Getting enough sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet and can maintain both your physical and mental health. Bupa health notes the following health benefits can come from getting enough sleep:
- Improvements in attention and concentration
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Keeps the heart healthy
- Keeps the immune system strong
- Looks after emotional and mental wellbeing
- Reduces stress levels
- Helps maintain good relationships.
In order to help individuals improve on all the above areas in their lives to maximise their longevity and good health, below are some easy to follow tips and tricks to help everyone live like Felicity Kendal.
The easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking for health or cycling instead of using the car to get around. However, the more you do, the better, and taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier.
Local NHS Stop Smoking Services are free, friendly and can massively boost an individual’s chances of quitting for good. These services staffed by expert advisers provide a range of proven methods to help anyone quit. They also make it easy and affordable for individuals to get stop smoking treatments, such as:
- Varenicline (Champix)
- Bupropion (Zyban)
- Nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches and gum.
The key to a healthy diet is to eat the right amount of calories for how active an individual is so you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink more than your body needs, you will put on weight because the energy you do not use is stored as fat. It is recommended that men have around 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). Women should have around 2,000 calories a day (8,400 kilojoules).
Tips that can help individuals to have a better quality slumber, come from The Sleep Foundation and include:
- Avoid light disruption
- Use a high-quality mattress and pillow
- Set a fixed wake-up time
- Wind down for at least 30 minutes
- Monitor caffeine intake
- Try relaxation techniques.
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