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Staying young

Knock 20 years off your body clock

Australian film star Hugh Jackman. BDG/Shutterstock

Physiologist Peter Herbert is 76, but still surfing and cycling on the track to his heart’s content, says Peta Bee in The Times. He’s the “living embodiment” of his research, which shows that exercise can cut a man’s biological age by up to 20 years. The maximum attainable heart rate for men typically declines by a beat a minute every year from the age of 30. A man in his seventies who does no exercise will have a third as much muscle as a 25-year-old.

But a high-intensity workout that Herbert has designed, called Fit HIIT, can help. It involves six 30-second sprints on an exercise bike at about 90% of your maximum effort. Each one is followed by three minutes of recovery. You should do one session every 5-10 days, or even once every three weeks, depending on your age and general fitness level; in between each workout, he recommends gentle walking and jogging for up to half an hour a day. The benefits are remarkable: in Herbert’s studies, which involve athletes and couch potatoes aged 55-78, his subjects wiped years, even decades, off their biological clock.

Over-60s can still rock a bikini

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There is an unwritten rule that bikinis are the preserve of the toned, taut and tanned, says Deborah Dooley in the Telegraph. But at 62, I’ve never been happier in one. This was not a straightforward journey – years ago I banished bikinis to the dark corners of my drawers, then gave them to charity shops, and wore a one-piece instead. A nasty encounter with a personal trainer didn’t help. Women can’t get flat stomachs at your age, he said. But “it’s not as if you’re going to be wearing a bikini any more”.

How wrong he was. I’ve thrown caution to the wind – life is too short and I craved the feeling of warm air on my skin. I bought a bikini (polka-dot, no less) and paraded along the beach. And I’m not alone. Several over-60s still sport bikinis, from Helen Mirren, 75, to Christie Brinkley, 67. Better still, a friend who is a personal trainer recently told me women aren’t meant to have flat stomachs. “Some scientific reasoning followed this pronouncement but I didn’t care. It was just good to hear it said.”

The benefits of staring into space

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Eye strain doesn’t come from being glued to screens all day, says Tim Bradshaw in the FT. The problem is being indoors. When we’re outside, there’s lots of natural light and we look at objects from a range of distances. But at home we tend to stare at things at close range for too long – reading a book can be as bad as watching YouTube videos on a computer, although the “distance between sofa and set” means TV isn’t the problem our parents thought it was. Ways to alleviate the problem include lots of blinking, drinking lots of water and the “20-20-20 rule”: every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.