According to the organisers of the Active Ageing Congress, as reported on the BBC website, over 70s should be inspired by the Olympics to take up competitive sport. I have long been an advocate of the importance of taking regular exercise for adults of all ages, but the prospect of hoards of over 70s signing up to play squash or even tennis does set a few alarm bells ringing. If said over 70s have been sitting on their backsides for 50 years or more, a sudden burst of energy could do more harm than good. Let's preach caution here please: anyone over 40, overweight and/or with health problems should seek advice from their doctor before undertaking any form of exercise.
However I would like to think that the Olympics has inspired a generation of young people to take up sport instead of playing the latest video games, and if it motivates older people to get fitter that is also a very good thing. Our parents and our grandparents didn't have it as easy as we do, with all our labour-saving devices. Housework and gardening alone were enough to maintain their fitness levels. Many of us drive everywhere during the daytime and spend our evenings slumped in front of the TV - and with a remote control we don't even need to get up to change channels.
John and I are both over 60 and we have a dog to exercise, so going for several walks a day is a necessity rather than just choice. Before moving to Spain however we ran several times a week as well as walking everywhere. Many friends in the same age group as us who live over here drive everywhere and seldom walk. They all suffer from a variety of health problems, many of which I am convinced would be helped by them exercising regularly.
The experts say that we should get 2.5 hours moderate exercise a week, which is less than half an hour a day. Not an impossible target, and it doesn't require the hard work and sacrifice that Olympic athletes have undertaken over the last 4 years, so why not switch off your PC and go for a brisk walk now?