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A guide to healthy old age for anyone over 55 who wants to be fit and healthy throughout life.
There are more than 20 million people aged 50 and over in the United Kingdom. There are dozens of books in print on babies and child-care, but very few which give advice for this vast section of the population.
More and more young (under-40) people are taking exercise. On the other there is a vast population of unfit overweight elderly people, placing an increasing burden on the Health Service. Most of this decline in health and fitness can be prevented by following simple exercise programmes and basic guidelines on diet.
World Cancer Research Fund scientists have estimated that about 4,600 bowel cancer cases could be prevented simply if people in the UK did more brisk walking and other forms of moderate activity - which is activity which makes your heart beat faster and makes you breathe more deeply - and about 5,500 breast cancer cases could be prevented in the same way.
Physical activity reduces the risk of cancer because people who are active are less likely to be overweight - an important cancer risk factor. This is why the WCRF recommends being physically active for at least half an hour a day. Dr. Rachel Thompson, Deputy Head of Science for the WCRF said:' There is now very strong evidence that being physically active is important for cancer prevention. Even relatively modest increases in activity level could prevent thousands of cancer cases in the UK every year.'