Keep on working after 65 – but where?

Keep on working after 65 – but where?

The need for a higher retirement age appears to be irrefutable. In Australia the over-60s are growing in number at approximately four times the rate of other demographic groups. At current trends, by 2050 there will only be 2.7 working Australians for every citizen over 65. In the 1970s, the ratio was 7.5 workers for each older Australian*. We can’t just ignore the fact that there’s a lot less...

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Daydream believers

Daydream believers

It’s become something of a cliché that people often have their best ideas in the shower. But, these days, the shower is one of the few places where your mind is free to wander – presuming you resist the lure of the waterproof radio, of course. Technology has made it so easy to be entertained or engaged every minute of the day that it’s practically the norm. But, as this this Guardian...

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When cruelty costs money why wouldn’t you stop?

When cruelty costs money why wouldn’t you stop?

Some farmers have absolutely no interest in animal welfare but wouldn’t you think they’d be interested in saving thousands of dollars a year? I recently interviewed Don Mudford of Parkdale Merino Stud, who breeds ‘bare breached’ sheep that don’t need to be mulesed. This is a horribly cruel practice of cutting off skin under the tail which theoretically prevents fly strike, but even mulesed sheep...

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GP dismisses breast symptoms. Can you believe that’s still happening?

This media release from the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation makes disturbing reading, and not only because the number of women diagnosed last year hit a new high. It includes the information that one of the 3003 women diagnosed in 2012 was 47-year-old Nicki Hayles, of Christchurch. Between mammograms, Nicki felt some pain in one breast. When it grew worse, and she noticed some redness on...

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What exactly is a low-glycaemic diet?

What exactly is a low-glycaemic diet?

The Harvard Medical School circulated these principles via their online newsletter today. Pretty much the same as a regular, healthy diet, I’d say – except that the first point strikes me as a bit odd. Why would anyone think tropical fruits have a higher glycaemic index (GI) than any dessert that isn’t fruit? And, if we’re supposed to avoid starchy fruit, why are bananas,...

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Addressing the psychological impact of BRCA testing

Addressing the psychological impact of BRCA testing

As someone with a faulty BRCA2 gene, I’m glad to see that someone is paying attention to the psychological impact of being on the receiving end of this diagnosis. I’d already had all of my treatment when I agreed to take the test and I didn’t give the matter much thought. It felt like something I should do because it might be helpful in terms of research. I must have been distracted;...

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Man beats cancer – or man gives himself cancer?

Man beats cancer – or man gives himself cancer?

This is the kind of ‘beating cancer’ story that I find really disturbing. In the Guardian article, the photograph is captioned ‘Jonathan Acott: ‘I wanted to prove that I would not be beaten by my cancer.’ So, at first sight it’s about a remarkable man who has used increasingly extreme forms of exercise to beat cancer three times. He says that: ‘Working with researchers at the...

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Is your environment making you fat?

Is your environment making you fat?

It seems obvious that ease of access to green space and pleasant places to walk would influence the amount of walking and other outdoor exercise you do but this report from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) set out to prove a connection.  The researchers compared the rates of physical activity, childhood obesity and diabetes in England’s nine most populous cities and found a clear...

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If I can’t walk or cycle while I work do I have to change my career?

If I can’t walk or cycle while I work do I have to change my career?

I keep on reading how bad it is for your health to sit still for long periods, even if you exercise every day. I spend about 99 per cent of my time in front of a computer or on the sofa so, other than changing my career and becoming a gym instructor, what are the options? There’s the treadmill desk, of course. But they’re huge – and hugely expensive. And I’ve never been convinced I could...

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When it comes to exercise, I’m definitely with the tortoise

When it comes to exercise, I’m definitely with the tortoise

I was just asked by a journalist writing for a health magazine whether I had any tips on starting and maintaining an exercise program. She wanted something different from the usual ‘ get a personal trainer’, ‘set goals’ and ‘start by walking’ advice that we’ve all heard a million times. My talk on Wednesday was on exactly that, so I was ready with my...

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