More advice for still-active older people - weights and stretching

Posted by Dave Walker

Just try and tell this guy he is unfit.

Peta Bee The Times Oct 12th writes that lifting lighter weights less often is the answer. Many of us oldies have been doing this for a while already. We are not looking for amazing muscle definition are we? Record-breaking? I don't think so. The article recommends a tough regime nevertheless. 3-5kg dumbbells for a biceps curl. 15-25 reps in 2-3 sets. Then increase. This is a stride above what I do, but as said previously, do something and do it regular.
  What about stretching? Peta Bee again Oct 19th. We lose elastic tissue in our support structures as we age. Ligaments and tendons get much less flexible from 40 onward. Reduced physical activity will make this worse. Consequences include poor posture and reduced movement. Maybe some restricted breathing.
  So what to do? As usual do it regularly. Pilates and related disciplines, maybe massage. Weights, more water, dancing. You can try exercises at home.


Have you seen the latest on walking speed and ageing? Slow walking in mid life can be associated with accelerated deterioration in oldies' physical and mental conditions. So reports Ana Sandoiu in Medical News Today. This continues to a apply at any age, so best to keep up your walking speeds. 2.5 to 2.8 mph in the over 70s.
  What if we don't walk a lot? Get walking of course.

Great place for older role models - Dublin 2019

From Dave Walker 24.10.2019

It's our fifth time in Dublin and never fails to charm, though it is now mostly for the tourists, like ourselves. So, for the second time, we stayed in Malahide, 30 minutes away on the 'Dart' - the local train. Malahide is the home of the Irish Cricket team, has at least two splendid pubs (Gibney's and Duffy's) and a pleasant marina. The traffic, as everywhere else in the world, was nose-to-tail.
  The hop-on-hop-off had a talented young girl student on the microphone. Lots of historical information. Reminded us on a couple of occasions that N. Ireland was a separate country. We were on the exposed top deck and got rained off in Phoenix Park, decanting to 'Nancy Hands' for a beer and lunch. Great traditional pub. Pete got off with the waitress. When we got back on, it was a tape and a not nearly as good. Veronica, our real guide, also confirmed the tourist thing. Kilmainham gaol has a three month waiting list for those booking on line. You take a punt if turning up on spec. She then finished us all off with her rendition of 'Molly Malone' - a wee tear was shed.

Our second time in the cafe, though we were too early for the band. Gabriel the waiter was super. Followed by a walk through the centre - Grafton St and performers. One girl sang Hallelujah.

The apartment had all the trimmings apart from coat-hangers, oven gloves, a mossy mouldy balcony and only one gas burner on the stove. Great location so 8 out of 10.
  We went to Gibney's for a rugby game last time we came - all the locals had their chairs reserved in front of the big screen. This time it was a second tier World Cup game which we watched over the bar. Pete pulled again - mine was better looking and more interesting.

'Jiggin' was the band. A guitar, a banjo and a bodhran. They all sang. Reels and not surprisingly jigs. There were songs from guys in the audience who rocked up and said "can we?" And we all joined in the ones we knew. 'When will they ever learn?' - a Peter, Paul and Mary tune about climate change was clever. Great craic.
  Did you know Ryanair will only give out boarding passes 48 hrs before departure? So if you miss, it's 50E fine. Thanks for the cybercafe on O'Connell St. 
  The trials of being a tourist.

Previous trips to Ireland:
2013   2014    2014    2016 

New author and great book about a crooked curate in the Holme Valley

History, crime and a crooked curate in the Holme Valley

The flyer is self-explanatory. Any further queries to the above phone numbers or

visit to browse our publications

Older inspiring role models

These five blokes are referred to affectionately as the Thursday Team. Hence meeting on a Wednesday lunch time. We all retired from the NHS at the same time (late 1990s) and met for a few years at the Clothiers Arms, Netherthong on a Thursday evening. Two finance, two managers and one clinician. One of those fixed points in a week. At a time when a week could sometimes stretch out a bit. We still come together maybe four or five times a year.
  There are common interests: sports, especially soccer and golf; grandchildren; illness, controlled or in remission; medication inevitably; all the stupid stuff ranging from Brexit to why the eye department at HRI cannot organise their appointments.
  I've been in a few groups over the years, at work and in college. Mixed feelings. The meetings for  NHS management to be avoided. We had an excellent rehabilitation team  - everyone signed up to the common purpose which was largely determined by the wants and needs of the service user - the patient. We met twice a week with an extra regular session to check how the team was performing - no one had a private agenda. We had counselling groups at York St John, but by then I had other stuff and I didn't contribute or achieve a great deal. Now groups, meetings and committees are a no.
  The Thursday Team was quite different. Drinks and the quiz were the main activities and some moaning. A support group I guess. Like the leg on a table - helps to keep the thing up and running, solid and reliable. Retirement was the common factor. We all wanted it and we came together to share and listen how we were doing. Today I suspect health is the preoccupation. Not dour or depressing. More optimistic.

This is Eric, en route from Lancashire, Mirfield, Huddersfield to Lymington near Southampton. A twice a year journey. We walked together every week from 1994. And were still walking intermittently up to last year when we did the middle section of Hadrian's Wall.
  Lakes, Coast-to-Coast and Reeth weekends, otherwise Derbyshire and bits around Holme Valley, Airedale and S. Yorkshire. Common threads included books, sports, families and mental health. I had it and a he was a psychiatrist.
  An additional issue we shared was naff organisation. Booking the wrong days and wrong hotels was something we got used to. It always worked out. It was calculating our walking distances that was a serious problem as Eric is 10 years younger than me. I recall two energy-free episodes - one around Grasmere and the other at Corbridge. I made it largely because you cannot bail out up a hill, miles away from anywhere. After a few days I recovered.
  On the C2C, Eric was going through one of his reading programmes. He'd reached Wuthering Heights. While I went to bed and slept 12 hours, he spent a happy evening communing with Cathy and Heathcliffe, first in the bath and then in the bar (clic here for the link).
  We never had a cross word. Still don't. He's worried about his eyesight - a book person would. I'm still grumpy - it masks social and performance anxiety.

Older inspiring role models - we have been knocking about together for over 20 years. Not as fit today, but still active in many other ways. We haven't given up yet.

Wild flowers can be beautiful too - inspiring a review on publication.


   Delia Rotchell gave us a wild flower patch in a tin. It thrived and outgrew the tin. So I potted it on to the now defunct potato raised-bed. It is stunning.

  These are the publications to date for Shalliley Books (began 2011), including one out later this year. Sport, music and local history are our subjects, getting stuff into print that a larger publisher might not touch. They are covered in more detail at Shallileybooks website. I only have one ISBN number left, so the question is do I get some more or do I retire? I don't advertise and the projects keep arriving. It is actually time I converted a couple of my own draft books into something that is printable. What to do? It is interesting to examine how all this came about, as outlined on the website. Websites are a bit static? So maybe justifiable to duplicate. It started as a side effect of Peter Davies massive database on all things West Yorkshire cricket. I can't remember whether I volunteered, but he sent me a load of stuff. I had a basic understanding of what to do from modules at Sheffield Hallam creative writing and a short book on Almondbury Casuals CC. We used the university print shop which didn't work. Sadly Peter had to take a back seat through illness (I saw his dad recently at Lockwood park and apparently Peter is improving). So I rang up the editor of a book I'd written for who said send it to a digital printer which we did and it worked, especially after a professional proof read. Riley, Dunn and Wilson on Leeds Road and brilliant. That morphed into Jotbindery and D&M Heritage in Lockwood. Somewhere in there the asbestos police got involved and everything went quiet - we needed help from a firm in Uppermill who were poor. Today it's Amadeus in Cleckheaton. I never realised what a difficult time print companies can have. A more detailed account of various articles and publications is here, and also here.

A great wee piece on insecurity about ageing by Fleur Adcock

Not especially high and lonely but spectacular and inspiring

Insecurity about ageing

The Poetry Pharmacy, Daily Telegraph Saturday 28th Sept. The link between ageing and body image or more precisely the link with actual body shape and size - '...  we begin to see evidence that our bodies have been lived in, loved in and lost in'.
  It all pales in comparison with seeing and being in the high lonely places. Those who love us don't see size and shape, they see and hear shared happy times. If we simply let ourselves.

Happy is how I look, and that's all.
My hair will turn grey in any case,
my nails chip and flake, my waist thicken,
and the years work all their usual changes.
If my face is to be weather-beaten as well

that's little enough lost, a fair bargain
for a year among the lakes and fells,
when simply
to look out of my bedroom window at the high pass
makes me indifferent to mirrors and to what
my soul may wear over its new complexion.

What a walk!

It was quite a walk. Starting just off Penistone Road, into Kirkburton high street, visiting the site of an old textile mill. Then a car park and back to Kirkburton high street. The church and a bridleway, back to Penistone Road. Steep decline into Thunderbridge, an effort up into Storthes Hall woods. Visited the football foundation where a penalty shootout was taking place between two young ladies' teams. Dicing with low flying tree branches, sighting an imposing derelict building, scaling a fence which said "Keep Out" on the other side. Crossing to tufted fields and bogs, down to Penistone Road and a welcome drink at The Foxglove.
I remember two pukka paths, otherwise it was make it up for yourself.

Older people maybe have the time to write - it's inspiring and therapeutic

Writing can be inspiring and therapeutic - give it a go with a diaryWriting stuff is not for everyone. Life can be difficult enough. Who remembers the 1950s primary schools and all the mistakes we inevitably made? Red ink from 'Miss' and red faces from us. So there is something to be said for a more flexible style of learning reading, writing and arithmetic. I hope less people today arrive into adulthood, scarred and scared to death of pens and pencils. Anyone recall that crucial transition into ink? I thought it was never going to happen.

 The Outsider   Forever alone.
                          Schoolmiss kept him in pencil
                          When the rest were in ink.

  This is a haiku I wrote in the 1990s whilst studying English at Huddersfield University. I managed one year before I had to return to the real world and earn a living.
  In defence of my primary school, I passed my eleven plus, a devastating lifelong failure for some if they didn't. In addition, Miss Town read to us every Friday afternoon. Treasure Island had us all enthralled. And, incidentally, I played in a great school soccer team. And Miss Town would not forgive me for starting any sentence with 'and'.
  So you survive the obstacle course called adolescence, college, first job and career, marriage and kids (there are plenty of variations on this curve) and if you are not already writing, then you might want to have a go.
  A diary can be a private start. A record of events, a breathing space for opening up concerns and their echoes (Seamus Heaney said he wrote 'To set the darkness echoing'), and a glimpse of what might be different. Many of us have good friends who listen and that can be enough.