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  • Writer's pictureGranny Bonnet

Ageing Beautifully

'When I was young...' is a classic opening line for us oldies but I shall carry on regardless. When I was young, women were old at 40. They fixed themselves in looks and dress and rarely appeared any different. Utilitarian clothing and fading vitality combined to usher in long years of deadening routine. Given that they had little spare income to devote to themselves, it's not really so surprising and I suppose the movie-star glamour they saw from time to time on the silver screen only served to emphasise differences that were so far out of reach as to be unimaginable. Unattainable. Not so now!

​Colour rules, and cheap clothing abounds. Hair and beauty salons are on every corner. We have information at hand that can help preserve our health and looks and it can be had at virtually no cost. Yes, you can lash out on expensive gym membership and buy into Lycra big-time in an effort to remain firm and active. Yes, you can fall into the trap of believing all the promises of expensive cosmetics and treatments but it is entirely possible to look after yourself with cheaper and readily-accessible alternatives.

Regular moderate exercise is the key to good health and longevity, and the easiest way to achieve them is to go for a brisk walk wherever you live. Start slowly and finish slowly but try to walk for thirty-five minutes each time in order to get the training effect. Ideally you will slip into the rhythm of four breaths in and four out to each step. (Suck, suck, suck, suck. Blow, blow, blow, blow). Do that daily if possible or as frequently as you can and you will really feel the benefit of pulsing circulation, bright eyes and the sparkle that comes with purposeful movement.

​I joined a karate group many years ago and while I soon gave up the martial side of things having got fed up with the bruises inflicted on me by others, I stuck with doing a daily brisk kata. This is a set movement that covers all aspects of physicality such as stretching, lunges, kicks and deep breathing, all done with close control and the right amount of tension to be labelled calisthenic. It is also nearer the true original form of tai ki or tai chi, as the modern gentle and slow characteristics were created when martial arts were banned in China. Those beautiful soft movements we are so familiar with now, are actually martial moves in heavy disguise. Each can be snapped back into fighting mode with a little specialist know-how. Anyway, I digress...

My personal daily routine takes only minutes. Often I also do some specific qui gong exercises though not always, as I mix it up with my walking and other activities such as gardening.

I cannot express adequately the feeling of well-being that comes from taking responsibility for my own health and welfare. Make time to work with and understand your own body's needs and you will not go far wrong.

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