Friday, 17 April 2015

Bonfire of the Slippers

I caught this arresting phrase on the radio this morning. Apparently it's been coined by one Sir Muir Gray, who was, believe it or not, 'Chief Knowledge Officer' for the NHS, and who has written a book brusquely titled Sod 70! He advocates giving older people dumbbells and resistance bands rather than slippers, to make sure they stay fit, active and engaged. Not for me, thanks - I'd sooner upgrade my slippers...
The radio discussion, in which he was joined by 'Green Goddess' Diana Moran, was actually sensible stuff, advocating Walking above all things, with a gentle daily exercise routine to maintain suppleness, core strength etc. Also the importance of starting early - Sir Muir seemed to be suggesting the early 30s, which is surely pushing it a bit. John Stewart Collis, who enjoyed a spry old age, also argued (in his book on the human body, Living with a Stranger, I think) for starting early - before 40 was his recommendation, and I followed it, though largely because back problems drove me to develop an exercise routine. Now here I am, an ageing baby boomer, still mobile, still working (not for long!), GSOH, own teeth, etc, and hardly able to believe that in a few years I'll have reached the biblical span, and will at some point be joining the ranks of the dumbbell-wielding, band-stretching Elderly. Oldsters of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your spectacles.


  1. That almost read like a profile for Nige, especially the GSOH. Is there something which you're not telling us?

  2. Emphatically not, but I believe that entry (GSOH,own teeth) did appear on a Lonely Hearts page up north somewhere, unless it's an urban myth...
    By the way, regarding the spectacles - you're wearing them!

  3. Yes, yes, mens sana in corpore sano, yada, yada, but Lord spare us seniorities spent trying to hide from geriatric fitness Nazis seizing our slippers. Note that the debate is about what "they" will "give" "us", which will give you a good idea of the respect we can look forward to and who will be calling the shots. I'm with the late Robertson Davies, who penned his objection to an earlier generation of self-help gurus haranguing the elderly to stay active thus: "Those currently navigating the rocky shoals of middle age and looking forward to a few quiet years in an easy chair with a good book may tremble at the thought of a seniority in which they will be compelled to grow orchids or learn to play the trombone."