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Norfolk County Council launches new campaign to celebrate healthy ageing

PUBLISHED: 15:45 08 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:00 08 November 2019

The sunrise Tai Chi session on Gorleston beach to launch the 'Still young enough to. . . ' campaign. Picture: Norfolk County Council

The sunrise Tai Chi session on Gorleston beach to launch the 'Still young enough to. . . ' campaign. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Norfolk County Council

Norfolk County Council's new campaign 'still young enough to...' is encouraging older residents to stay active by trying something new - whether it's bell-ringing, a parkrun or doing some gardening...

If you were in Gorleston on Friday, October 11, you might have seen something quite unexpected as 60 Norfolk residents, aged 50 plus, took 
to the sand for a special Tai Chi Qigong session.

The 45-minute activity was led by Norfolk-based practitioner Deniz Paradot to launch 'still young enough to...', Norfolk County Council's new health campaign which celebrates healthy ageing.

"The event in Gorleston kickstarted a 12-month campaign to support people either retired or approaching retirement to live fit, active and fulfilling lives," says Dr Louise Smith, Director of Public Health at Norfolk County Council. "We want people across Norfolk to be able to live longer and healthier lives and continue to contribute to their community."

Staying physically active is one of the main ways to prevent frailty and pre-frailty - the decline in health, resilience and mobility often associated with ageing - which are commonly experienced by those in retirement as well as adults aged 50-65.

A sunrise Tai Chi session took place on Gorleston beach on October 11 to launch Norfolk County Council's new campaign, 'still young enough to...' Picture: Norfolk County CouncilA sunrise Tai Chi session took place on Gorleston beach on October 11 to launch Norfolk County Council's new campaign, 'still young enough to...' Picture: Norfolk County Council

"Keeping or simply being active is important at any age, but particularly so in later life," says Dr Sarah Flindall, a GP from Great Yarmouth. "From as early as our 30s, we start to lose muscle mass and the type of muscle we are left with is less effective on a cellular level.

"This means that, as we approach our 50s, 60s and 70s, it becomes more difficult to climb stairs, hoover or even get out of a chair. At any age, by increasing exercise, we can start to change the minute fibres and cells that work together to make those muscles more youthful."

But staying active can also have other fantastic benefits, too, says Dr Flindall. "Regular exercise also increases metabolic rate, and that is likely to improve the body's ability to deal with calorie intake, helping to control weight. The positive impact on mental health and self-esteem which follows regular exercise and achievement may have the most profound impact."

The key to staying active is to incorporate it into your daily routine - whether it's walking the dog, taking up a new active hobby or simply playing with your grandchildren in the park - and according to NHS guidelines, healthy individuals should aim to take part in 150 minutes of moderate activity a week.

Instructor Deniz Paradot leading the Tai Chi session at Gorleston beach in October, as part of Norfolk County Council's 'still young enough to...' campaign. Picture: Norfolk County CouncilInstructor Deniz Paradot leading the Tai Chi session at Gorleston beach in October, as part of Norfolk County Council's 'still young enough to...' campaign. Picture: Norfolk County Council

While many people consider retirement a time to embrace a more active lifestyle, a study conducted by Active Norfolk, UEA and Sport England revealed that, for up to 45pc of people, this is not the case.

"While retirement can free up time, deteriorating health and wellbeing can become a new barrier," says Dr Charlotte Salter, lead researcher at UEA's Norwich Medical School.

A lack of motivation and the cost and availability of sports are cited as contributing factors, as sports facilities and fitness classes are often aimed at a much younger market.

But adopting healthier habits, earlier on, could lead to a healthier retirement."In England, participation in physical activity tends to decrease around the age of 55," says Dr Salter. "But in order to enjoy a fit and healthy retirement, people need to maintain their physical fitness through their fifties and beyond."

NHS guidelines indicate that adults should complete 150 minutes of exercise a week. Picture: UK Chief Medical Officers' GuidelinesNHS guidelines indicate that adults should complete 150 minutes of exercise a week. Picture: UK Chief Medical Officers' Guidelines

To find out more about what activities are available, visit the website at www.norfolk.gov.uk/stillyoungenough or follow along on social media at #stillyoungenoughto

DR FLINDALL'S ADVICE FOR STAYING ACTIVE...

*Pick something that is interesting or that you have never done before - it doesn't even have to be the class that involves exercise but walking to and from it is the activity.

*Go to a class with a friend if you are worried about attending a group.

*Whatever you choose, do it regularly. Increase your exercise level a little bit each time and you'll start to see a difference.

STILL YOUNG ENOUGH… TO HAVE A GO!

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Norfolk is bursting with opportunities to try a new hobby or activity - and a chance to meet like minded people along the way. Visit Active Norfolk's Activity Finder at www.activenorfolk.org/activities-for-you for great ideas on how you could become fitter, healthier and happier.

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