Let it snow!

From all of us at Wanobe to all of you, the very best wishes for you and your

Have a really happy holiday. And for 2012, we wish you a brilliant
year full of fun, success, happiness, health, love, sunshine, deep snow and
all you wish for.

Thanks for all you have done for us this year as contributors and investors!

May your sledge runners glide perfectly!

Good news for older workers … and the economy

The government in the UK has finally called time on the Default Retirement Age saying workers nowadays are living healthier and longer lives. From October no firm will be able to retire employees compulsorily retire older employees. This decision has been long due. Few can disagree that older workers bring many positive experiences and benefits to any workforce, with lifeskills such as attitude, work ethic, teamwork ability, problem solving and commitment. Liz Field, CEO of the Financial Skills Partnership (FSP), says “the economy and society we live in are changing and demand greater flexibility. The skills, past experience, customer knowledge and soft skills provided by older workers are therefore essential in enhancing a changing market”.

Mind the age gap

Twice their age and far less attractive, older men like Ronnie Woods, John Cleese and Salman Rushdie continue to attract gorgeous young girlfriends. Wanobe’s reporter Sara O’Meara talked to author Judy Astley and others about the appeal of older men and why these relationships are usually doomed.

For many folks, relationships between older men and young woman seem crazy and unnatural. I mean why would a 19-year-old Russian waitress choose to date a man like 61-year-old Ronnie Wood?

But Ronnie’s nnot the only older man to bag a younger woman. At 61, Salman Rushdie’s latest squeeze is 27, John Cleese recently began dating an American woman aged 34, and 32-year-old DJ Mark Ronson is reportedly planning to marry 19-year-old model Daisy Lowe.

Some beleive that the age gap relationship is a trade off. The younger lady is looking for someone to make her feel safe and the older man is looking for someone who doesn’t answer back and is a trophy.

Christine Northam, a counsellor for relationship service Relate, told our reporter that couples with a large age difference need to work harder than most. She says that a large age gap can create a minefield of potential problems.

“Practically and emotionally you’re always going to be at different stages of development in terms of your career, your social life and starting a family. Success would entirely depend on exploring these possible areas of conflict and facing them head on.”

However, fiction writer Judy Astley who explores the age gap idea in her new romantic novel, Other People’s Husbands., believes ‘a relationship with a big gap can have an added spark.’

“I know a couple, she’s in her 50s and he’s over 80. He’s kept her fairly balanced, and she’s kept him young. He still can dive in to the sea off a high rock.”

Now that is what I call cool and living life out loud regardless of age. Check out the full article under the Family category in our News, tips and reviews section. I think in my next blog I’ll look at older women with younger men.

Have fun, rock on, friends!

Magical mind, magical body

Summer is a great time, whatever the weather. It’s a period when we regather our energy, soaking in the warmth and sunshine (yes, even in rainy Britain, the sun is known to shine occasionally during the summertime).

For me, summer is a time to laze around reading.

And I’ve just been given some amazing insights into the body’s relationship to the mind by reading  Deepak Chopra’s, Magical Mind Magical Body’.

Chopra explains how personality impacts choice of food, music and activities and how we can use this knowledge to optimise our health and potential.

All awesome stuff as evidenced by some of the mind-blowing facts provided about body and mind:

– In a year, a person`s heart beats 40,000,000 times.
– The average human’s heart will beat 3,000 million times in their lifetime.
– The average human will pump 48 million gallons of blood in their lifetime.
– In 1 square inch of skin there lies 4 yards of nerve fibers, 1300 nerve cells, 100 sweat glands, 3 million cells, and 3 yards of blood vessels.
– The structural plan of a whale’s, a dog’s, a bird’s and a man’s ‘arm’ are exactly the same.
– There are 45 miles of nerves in the skin of a human being.
– Most people blink about 25 times a minute.
– Each square inch of human skin consists of twenty feet of blood vessels.
– Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as 170-miles per hour.
– You use an average of 43 muscles for a frown. You use an average of 17 muscles for a smile.
– Every two thousand frowns creates one wrinkle.
– You burn 26 calories in a one-minute kiss.
– The average human body contains enough: Sulphur to kill all fleas on an average dog, Carbon to make 900 pencils, Potassium to fire a toy cannon, Fat to make 7 bars of soap, Phosphorus to make 2,200 matchheads, and enough water to fill a ten-gallon tank.
– A sneeze zooms out of your mouth at over 100 m.p.h.
– The tooth is the only part of the human body that can’t repair itself.
Live well, live happy, folks – and keep on rocking!

Silent killer

It was scary to learn the other day that high blood pressure may account for more than 13 percent of premature deaths around the world.

An article in the The Lancet medical journal wrote that researchers found that in 2001, the latest year for which complete global data were available, around 8 million early deaths could be attributed to high blood pressure.

Hypertension was also claimed to be responsible for 54 percent of strokes and 47 percent of heart disease worldwide.

I have always thought high blood pressure was principally a problem in high income western countries. But the latest findings show that 80 percent of deaths linked to high blood pressure now occur in the developing world, with half of the fatalities among people of working age.

According to The Lancet article writers little substantive or sustained effort has been made to address an issue that has probably killed over 50 million people in the past decade, disabled many more, and taken billions of dollars from already fragile economies.

However, there is hope on the horizon. Both the WHO and World Bank have now highlighted the importance of chronic disease as an obstacle to economic development. They recommend action to control the huge epidemics of cardiovascular diseases already affecting Asia and South America and threatening other regions, including Africa.

The Lancet writers noted global expenditure on antihypertensive treatment is around €50 billion each year, more than 90 percent of which is spent in high-income countries, where the main debate about access concerns the provision of care to very-low-risk individuals. Middle-income and low-income regions have a five times greater burden of disease than do high-income regions, with access to less than 10 percent of the global treatment resource.

Keep on rocking, Dave

Determined to stay young…

Living life out loud for a great many mature people is all about doing their very best to stay ‘forever young’.

Eating healthy, staying fit are all the rage among folks approaching retirement, as is use of cosmetic surgery, botox and medical hair transplants for men and women alike.

For many of us born between 1946 and 1964 (so-called Baby Boomers), we expect scientific advancements and genetic research to help us out and maybe enable a great life past 100. We aren’t afraid to find a pill cure for every health and fitness issue that challenges our mobility and ability to live life to the fullest, from Viagra to vitamin pills.

Regular exercise apparently is highly valuable. Research by the University of Florida showed that a well-designed program combining aerobic, strength, balance and flexibility exercises could make a difference in maintaining mobility functions.

The study’s findings revealed a common concern. When asked what they were most afraid of, most of the respondents didn’t put cancer or other age-related diseases on their list – top was loss of independence.

Now, if all I have to do to stay out of the nursing home is to stay as fit as possible by walking, running, swimming, then I am totally hooked!

So here’s a business idea for all you fit folks over 40 looking for something new to do. Why not start offering fitness or wellness programs targeted at older adults? Today’s population of older adults is so large, I am sure anyone serving the health and well-being needs of the older adult will do extremely well.

So on with the trainers and out on that track, boys and girls. Shake that lethargy off and get with the action…

Rock on, Wanobians. Live long, live well, play a lot.


Dance, read and play more …

Were you aware that after the age of 60 the brain starts shrinking fairly dramatically, losing between half-a-percent to one percent of its volume every year?
While some of my friends may say that I’ve been suffering that kind of wastage since my teens, I found it fascinating to read recently that you can slow the brain-drain by increasing your mental and physical exercise.

According to John Ratey, author of a book published in January called ‘Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain’, “exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain”.

And as a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, John if anyone should know.

John Ratey believes that by getting and keeping your body in shape, you mind will follow along. He bases his belief on the fact that because we evolved as physical hunter-gatherers our bodies and minds need regular exercise in our sedentary world to avoid growing flabby.

The American psychiatrist claims all form of exercise, especially aerobic but even walking, improves cognitive performance, reduces feelings of stress and can even diminish addictions and the consequences of hormonal changes of women.

Apparently, our brains need to be challenged to learn. By optimising the brain through giving it constant and challenging mental and physical exercise, we can gain the key to a longer, healthier life.

So, get with the action folks. Keep your mind agile by keeping your body in shape. Everything helps apparently – dancing, reading, playing board games, having sex or playing a musical instrument.

Rock on, Wanobians. Live long, live well, play a lot.


Thumbs up for defensive aging

Staying forever young is not just a state of mind for a growing number of people who have celebrated turning fifty years. It is also very much about signing up for the surgeon’s knife in the relentless hunt for a beautiful body – by both women and a growing number of men.

New figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reveal a 12.2 percent increase in surgical procedures last year compared to 2006, with 32,453 women and men opting for cosmetic surgery. While facelifts for women rose 37 percent last year, more men than ever before were trying tummy tucks to reduce waistlines and breast reductions to get rid of ‘man boobs’.

The top five surgical procedures for men in 2007 were: rhinoplasty (716), liposuction (582), eyelid surgery (558), ear correction (418), and face/neck lift (230 – rise of 21%).
The top five surgical procedures for women in 2006 were: breast augmentation (6,487), eyelid surgery (5,148 – up 13% on last year), face/neck lift (4,238, an impressive rise of 37%), liposuction (3,990 – up 15%), and breast reduction (3,178).

With anti-aging surgery on eyelids and brows growing in popularity for both women and men, the aesthetic trend is pretty clear. According to experts, Britons will be spending almost one billion pounds this year on cosmetic surgery and non-surgical treatments such as Botox and dermal fillers.

According to Nigel Mercer, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President-Elect: “When considering aesthetic surgery it is essential to be selective in choosing the right surgeon as the results of good surgery may be long lasting, but no procedure is without some risk. When performed under the right circumstances, aesthetic surgery can have a very positive psychological impact and improve quality of life.”

Rock on, folks, we only live once, after all.  Live long, live well, laugh a lot.

Are you ready to age?

If you are anything like me, you’d probably answer no the question above.

But are you aware that in fewer than ten years, all the baby boomers will be aged between 51 to 70 years.

And according to a report by management consultancy McKinsey, boomers will account for something like 40 percent of spending in the US by 2015 with roughly similar figures for the UK and Europe.

Those kind of figures tend to impress marketing folks, but according to a new McKinsey survey many aging people ‘face the prospect of shattered expectations’ despite the economic power of their cohort.

According to the survey, a generation that lived through unprecedented prosperity is going to have to learn how to cope with significant financial, physical and social challenges whatever their high hopes for ‘golden years’.

I personally am a very positive person, probably as a result of spending hours trying to master hula hoops in the 1950s. Yet even I felt initially despondent reading the revelations McKinsey’s research portrayed.

It seems that 60 percent of boomers won’t be able to maintain a lifestyle close to their current one without continuing to work, while a similar number already suffer from chronic health problems. More than 46 percent told researchers they feared ending up alone, and 43 percent are frustrated that they aren’t leading the lives they expected to.

Luckily for my own sense of wellbeing, the McKinsey research (bringing together economic forecasting, demographic modelling and market research) did manage to find grounds for optimism. As a generation that has rewritten the rules at every stage of our lives, we apparently feel resourceful and willing to change. Around 80 percent of those surveyed said they believe they can ‘survive anything that life throws at them’.

I’d love to hear what you feel about the ‘aging’ laying ahead, please leave your comments below.

Live long, live well, laugh a lot.

‘Prolonging life’ – with alcohol and exercise

I am getting to like the Danes a lot, especially their medical researchers.

A few weeks ago, a Danish study found that as we get older we grow smarter, now another research team has apparently discovered that alcohol can ‘prolong life’ – when drunk in moderation and in combination with moderate exercise.

The bad news (isn’t there always?) is that people who neither drink nor exercise have a 30 to 49 percent high risk of suffering heart disease than those doing one or both.

The study – published in the European Heart Journal in January – supports other research studies indicating light to moderate drinking (that’s around a regular two drinks a day) is associated with reduced risk of heart disease.

However, the Danish research also underscored the added benefit from both exercising and drinking.

In one of the largest studies of its kind, the Danish researchers spent 20 years looking at information on the drinking and exercise habits of almost 12,000 men and women aged over 20.  People consuming less than one drink per week were classified as ‘non-drinkers’, while ‘moderate’ drinkers imbibed between 1 and 14 drinks per week. The ‘heavy’ drinkers putting away 15 or more drinks a week fared as badly as the non-drinkers.

Lead author Jane Østergaard Pedersen concluded: “Both moderate to high levels of physical activity and a moderate alcohol intake are important for lowering the risk of heart disease deaths.”

After all the bad press drinking alcohol has been getting, it’s reassuring to learn that a little may go a long way when mixed some moderate exercise to help us live longer, healthier and happier.

It all sounds like the perfect lifestyle cocktail.

Live long, live well, Wanobians.