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Exercise, is it the fountain of youth?




By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

The past two weeks we’ve looked at the benefits of exercise on common conditions as we age such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

In this concluding article we are going to look at the overall improvements to lifestyle and well-being right throughout our adult life as a result of exercise.

Why is this important? If you are in your 20s or 30s reading this, should you even care? Simply put, one day you will care. Right now you probably have relations who need to know this right away.

Over the last one hundred years the average life expectancy at birth in Ireland has risen by several decades.

Life expectancy at birth is 80.4 years for men and 84.0 for women, but really, is it the years or the quality of the years that matter most?

Increased longevity is not the only important measure for ageing, as the number of those extra years spent in good health is crucial to both quality of life and service provision.

As we get older we lose about 1% of our muscle mass every year from around 40 years of age. The decline in muscle strength and balance happens three times quicker if we do not do regular activity.

Older people who have been in hospital may have spent a lot of their time in bed or sitting in a chair. This can lead to loss of muscle mass and strength which makes moving about and doing daily activities independently more difficult once they are discharged. This can result in people being unable to go back to their home or needing extra care assistance. The greater the loss of muscle mass the more susceptible a person becomes to chronic illness.

Not only can exercise limit the effects of physical deterioration, studies have also concluded it can act as a buffer against some cognitive impairments such as dementia with six to 12 months of exercise improving brain function scores.

So, what do the guidelines tell us?

Ideally, exercise prescription for older adults should include both aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening exercises.

Aerobic exercise (walking, cycling, swimming, jogging etc) serves to improve our cardiovascular system. Cardiovascular disease is a major contributor to mortality rates in all age groups. Lack of exercise tends to exacerbate the negative effects of these risk factors while implementing exercise in daily routine has been shown to reduce mortality rates.

Strength training has many benefits for the older population which we have touched on over the past two weeks, but other than the benefits to bone density and muscle mass, strength training has also been proven to improve functional abilities. Things we may take for granted now like getting up and down to the toilet, bathing and even getting up to make a cup of tea can become an ordeal or impossible for someone who becomes frail in their older years. This does not have to be the case. We have prevention tools available to use to continue to live independently on our own terms.

How much of these should we do according to the guidelines?

Adults and older adults (>65) should do at least 150–300 min of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or at least 75–150 min of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week for substantial health benefits;
Adults and older adults (>65) should also do muscle-strengthening activities at moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on two or more days a week, as these provide additional health benefits.
Older adults, as part of their weekly physical activity, should do varied multicomponent physical activity that emphasises functional balance and strength training at moderate or greater intensity on three or more days a week, to enhance functional capacity and to prevent falls.

These strength training sessions should be completed two to three days per week, with a rest day between each workout.

Activate runs a twice weekly strength programme which is devised and coached by Sam Treharne (CORU registered physiotherapist) which might be suitable for you or someone you know. To find out more visit or call 087 4030894.

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Benefit-In-Kind tax rules overturned for company cars

By John Healy of Healy Insurances Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has announced a temporary change for company-owned vehicles following a backlash from drivers whose Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) taxes increased substantially […]




By John Healy of Healy Insurances

Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has announced a temporary change for company-owned vehicles following a backlash from drivers whose Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) taxes increased substantially in January.

While the move to a CO2 based Benefit-In-Kind system, which incentivises the use of Electric Vehicles and lower emission cars, a significant number of employees with vehicles in the typical emissions range experienced large increases in their income tax liabilities since the start of 2023.

To address the issue, the Finance Minister has introduced a relief of €10,000 to be applied to the Original Market Value (OMV) of cars in Category A-D in order to reduce the amount of Benefit-In-Kind payable (this is not applicable to cars in Category E).

In effect, this means that, for the purposes of calculating BIK liability, employers may reduce the OMV by €10,000. This treatment will also apply to all vans and electric vehicles. For electric vehicles, the OMV deduction of €10,000 will be in addition to the existing relief of €35,000 that is currently available for EVs, meaning that the total relief for 2023 will be €45,000.

The upper limit in the highest mileage band is amended by way of a 4,000km reduction, so that the highest mileage band is now entered into at 48,001km.

These temporary measures will be retrospectively applied from 1 January 2023 and will remain in place until 31 December 2023. It is proposed to introduce the measures at Committee Stage of the Finance Bill 2023.

From an insurance perspective, if a vehicle is owned by a company then the motor policy in place must be in the company name and have full business use cover known as Class 2 cover. It is customary that the policy is on an open driving basis, usually aged 25 to 70. The cost for a company owned car policy can be higher than privately owned vehicles.


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Reduce the stress of downsizing

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY It is widely accepted that moving house is one of THE most stressful life events one will experience, but does it really need […]




By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

It is widely accepted that moving house is one of THE most stressful life events one will experience, but does it really need to be?

Embrace the change and look forward to new beginnings.

One particular cohort of home movers are those downsizing from their larger family homes, perhaps to a more manageable property with little/less maintenance. Here we look at potential ways of reducing the stress involved when downsizing:

Start the process as early as possible. Putting it off will add to the stress and result in a rushed job that is maybe not thorough enough. You only want to bring items you LOVE, NEED, USE and have SPACE for to your new property. Use this time as an opportunity to declutter – be ruthless. This is a fantastic opportunity to put some organisation into your life. Perhaps declutter prior to placing your existing home on the market – it may well add value to your home.

Don’t underestimate how much of a reduction is required pre-move. If the new property you are moving to is 50% smaller, then a quick estimate is that 50% of items in your current home need to be rehoused elsewhere.

Have an exit plan for the items leaving your home. Where are your local charity shops, do they offer a collection service? Is a skip required? A carefully planned exit strategy will make the move a lot more seemless. Have detailed measurements of your new home so you know which larger furniture items will/will not fit in your new property.

Take your time and do not try to do multiple areas simultaneously. Perhaps take it room by room and set yourself realistic targets.

Most importantly don’t panic. Allow yourself sufficient time, have a well-planned system in place and do not be reluctant to ask for help. Involving family members and relatives in the move will make the whole process a lot easier.

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