Ageing well expert hits airwaves

Professor Dawn Skelton hit the BBC airwaves to share secrets of how to get to 80 and still look as good Sir Paul McCartney who became the oldest solo star to headline the Glastonbury Festival at the weekend.

GCU’s Professor in Ageing and Health was invited on to the BBC Radio Scotland Drivetime show with John Beattie in the wake of the former Beatle’s near three-hour set on the Pyramid Stage on Saturday.

Professor Skelton was asked by presenter John Beattie “what’s the secret to getting to 80 and looking like Paul McCartney?” and she replied: “Engaging and enjoying in life, having a purpose and keeping mentally and physically active. Use it or lose it!”.

She added: “You need to stay active both mentally and physically. I have come across plenty of people in their 80s and 90s who can beat me at anything in terms of physical activity because they’ve kept that going with things they enjoy doing and do them on a regular basis.

“There are certain things that you can’t beat. Ageing will get you eventually on many things which is why Paul McCartney’s voice isn’t as strong because the muscles around the larynx have weakened over time. Having the stamina to be on stage for nearly three hours is amazing.

“The issue is that life is full of easy-going options for things now. It’s easier to get in the car than walk, use escalators instead of stairs, we’ve got all those labour-saving devices, so life encourages us to be less active and the older we are, the more gadgets we have available and people helping out so we end up losing it because we’re not using it.

“The secret to staying young is maintaining your strength, in particular. It’s not just about walking because that’s more about stamina, we need muscles for all sorts of things including fighting off infections and inflammation but also to be completely independent. Ideally, you want to be mixing up your activity. Fitness to be ageing well is all about stamina, strength, balance and flexibility.”

Listen to Professor Skelton on Radio Scotland at 55.36 mins here –

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