April 24, 2024

Redgrave prioritising health now more than ever

By Abi Curran, Sportsbeat

Olympic legend Sir Steve Redgrave is prioritising his health more than ever after admitting the difficulties he had kicking old habits of his athlete lifestyle.

The 61-year-old, famed for winning rowing gold at five consecutive Olympic Games, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of thirty-five and knows healthy ageing is key to enjoying his life in retirement.

Static bike rides, moderate exercise and a balanced diet are just some of the other ways Redgrave keeps himself fighting fit.

He said: “We used to train ridiculous amounts and it is in my DNA in some ways.

“I am also a diabetic and continuing to exercise is good for controlling your diabetes.

“The older we get, the more conscious and aware of ageing we are, since stopping as an athlete, I found it difficult adjusting.

“When I was an athlete, we used to eat six to seven thousand calories per day which is a huge amount of food, and you did that for 25 years of your life.

Eligibility for free NHS shingles vaccination Eligibility for free NHS shingles vaccination

Eligibility for free NHS shingles vaccination (Advocate)

“With exercising, I’ve got good intentions and what I’ve found works for me is having friends that I organise things with.”

In a new 2024 survey commissioned by GSK for Shingles Awareness Week, among adults aged 60+ who had heard of shingles, 85% of those asked said that staying healthy as they get older is ‘very important’ to them, but the number of people taking specific measures to remain healthy are in some cases significantly lower.

Only half of those surveyed said they did regular exercise, while just 59% visit their doctor if they have symptoms about which they are concerned. With age, the immune system weakens, making people more susceptible to illness.

Redgrave, though he has never had shingles himself, joined forces with broadcaster Janet Street-Porter, who has had the viral infection twice, to raise awareness of shingles and checking NHS vaccine eligibility as part of a healthy ageing approach.

Redgrave said: “I am a grandfather now so it’s important that I stay healthy to look after my granddaughter which I’m excited for, she’s only six months old at the moment.

“Being an athlete is being aware of your body, knowing about your body on a day-to-day basis.

“Your GP and your nurse are good people to hear all this information about healthy ageing from.

“Shingles Awareness Week is about educating people on the infection; I was not aware of the virus properly before.

“My sister had shingles and it’s very uncomfortable but there is a national immunisation programme that is a really important element to this, to get the message out there.”

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox.

There is a one in four lifetime risk of developing shingles and, thanks to the expansion of the shingles National Immunisation Programme, more adults are eligible to have the vaccine, including those turning sixty five or people aged 50 and over with a severely weakened immune system. Anyone aged 70-79 is also eligible

Redgrave added: “I come into the category just below 65 but because of my diabetes, I am classed as a vulnerable person so may be entitled to have the vaccine and I will certainly speak to my doctor about it.

“If I can do something that will help with not getting shingles and staying healthy, then I will certainly take all the necessary precautions.”

Get Shingles Ready is a campaign by GSK supported by Steve Redgrave and Janet Street-Porter. For more information visit GetShinglesReady.co.uk

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