Towards the end of my running career I had meetings with the powers that be in sport and the talk was that at the age of 30 I was coming towards the end. Looking back I wish I had argued this point more. I feel ageing is a privilege and we need to appreciate each year.

I was a far superior athlete at 30 than at 20 and one of my few regrets is that I didn’t back myself more at that age.

Now that I’m retired from professional sport I feel really strongly about people staying active no matter what age they are.

Whether you are an Olympic athlete or a recently retired person in their 60s or 70s you should be trying to move each day.

Here are some of the best reasons to keep active:

Lower your risk of getting sick
If you are more physically active you lower your risk of many illnesses. As you get older and your function starts to decline a little, staying active will help slow that decline.

Staying engaged with people
Being active can be a hugely social activity. At the moment I only run with friends because my motivation is lacking. A couple of times a week I catch up with friends by going for a jog. I always feel great after the jog and chat.

It keeps you functional
If I could get everyone to do one thing for their bodies as they get older it would be to lift weights. They don’t have to be big weights but they should be applicable for your ability. From the age of 30 we start to lose our muscle mass. Lifting weights helps prevent this and keeps us functioning efficiently.

It takes little time
You can get a really efficient weight training session done in 30 minutes. You also don’t need a fancy gym membership. I have weights in my garage that I use. You can pick up fairly inexpensive weights in loads of places.

It gives you perspective
Most of us are super busy and we live in a world where we want everything now. Taking time to exercise and get active gives me perspective. Each time I head to my garage to do a small weights circuit or put my runners on to go for a run I get a chance to stop and evaluate. Having some perspective about what is important in life is essential for me and that’s probably the most vital reason for me to stay active.

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