So it’s official. I am getting old, overweight and need to change my lifestyle and eating habits.
Yes, it is finally time to accept that I am a forty year old who needs to stop living like I am in my twenties.
The news broke slowly after Northampton Town invited me along with their manager John Brady for a health check designed for people aged 40 and over.
So what happened to the cliched belief that life begins at 40?
Mochi is going out into his community by visiting local businesses to offer hassle-free testing to employees in that age group.
Club’s Community Sports Participation Officer Akshay Mistry has been entrusted with the responsibility of giving these cheques.
The process, which takes about 20-30 minutes, involves measuring body mass index (BMI) by taking height, weight and waist measurements – and then checking blood pressure and heart rate, cholesterol levels and, if necessary, a diabetes test.
Usually such check-ups are carried out at the local GP surgery but nowadays making a doctor’s appointment seems impossible.
Akshay has taken more than 300 tests since the club began conducting them – and Mochi almost certainly saved two lives when he realized his health stats were at an alarming level.
He told me: “We want people between the ages of 40 and 74 to get tested. It’s an easy process, but GP surgeries take a lot of time, so it takes pressure off the NHS by making these tests more accessible.” Is.
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“Anything that can be flagged will be better served later because it can prevent future problems.
“If you have high blood pressure and are overweight to the extent that it is dangerous that could be the end for you.
“But if you can spot it now, you can do something about it — either by changing your lifestyle and diet and, at moderate or dangerous levels, sending you to a doctor to prescribe medication as well as plan going.
“I’ve seen two people I referred to a GP – and it’s a good job because had they not had a check, they almost certainly could have been suddenly dead one day.”
The tests are carried out in co-ordination with Public Health England and the results are uploaded to the NHS database to give your GP access.
And even people who appear to live a healthy lifestyle may find that sometimes everything is not what they think.
Take Cobblers boss Brady, who is 48, for example. He has spent his life in football – either playing in the EFL or at the top of the non-league and working as a coach.
He loves to run, regularly walks his dog and surrounds himself with healthy food and drink at the club’s training ground.
But, shortly before, he did an investigation through the League Managers’ Association and was stunned to find that there was a health issue that needed to be addressed.
He told me: “The test flagged the need to drop my cholesterol levels.
“They were concerned and did a lot of tests. I even had to wear a blood pressure monitor for 48 hours.
“And it turns out I need to take care of my cholesterol. I have certain enzymes that aren’t working properly.
“I always thought I was fit and healthy but it wasn’t. I watch what I eat now. I love a croissant in the morning and my wife gets mad at me – so I don’t have any anymore .
“That’s non-dairy flavored yogurt with blueberries for me!”
So on my own check. My height is only 6 feet, waist is 39 inches and weight is 98.4 kg. This means my BMI is 30 and I am officially obese for the first time in my life! Though I think Akshay needs to double-check his sloppy tape measure and scales!
Like Brady, I enjoyed running — often going for 5k or 10k runs — but have lost that enthusiasm since the pandemic.
I drink beer and wine, love food, enjoy socializing and have a job that takes me away from my home on a regular basis, which makes it difficult to get into a healthy routine.
Then came the blood pressure and heart rate test. Two readings are taken… the systolic pressure (when your heart pushes blood out) and the diastolic pressure (when your heart relaxes between beats).
Mine came in at 139 (sp) and 93 (dp)… healthy levels are below 140 and 90. So my systolic pressure continues to trend towards unhealthy highs while the diastolic pressure is now well over the healthy range.
However, the good news is that I am not at a worrying level of 160/100 that would require a referral to a GP.
My heart rate came down to 99 beats per minute. However, it was probably because it was overpowering with the fear that Akshay was about to tell me that I would no longer be able to scoff at delicious pizza, Chinese takeaway or kebabs.
My Apple Watch says that my average heart rate for the past week has been 78 – which is within the average range of 60-100.
And finally after pricking some blood from one of my fingers my cholesterol level was recorded.
My aggregate came to 3.74, which is a healthy level. Anything between five and six would mean you seriously need to eat healthier — but anything above that would require an immediate doctor’s appointment.
Although my “good cholesterol level” only came in at 0.71. A healthy person would expect at least 1.0.
So I asked Akshay for some health tips.
He said: “Your BMI is not exactly what you want. For your height, you should lose around 10 kilos. That will automatically bring down your waist.
“Your blood pressure isn’t too bad, but you need it down a bit. Losing weight should help.
“You also need to add more healthy cholesterol to your blood. So eating well is the answer – oily fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel will help. As well as raw nuts, avocados, blueberries and non-dairy yogurt and fish oil or All things multi-vitamin supplements are great.
“And you need to lower your resting heart rate a bit. You don’t need to lift weights, but I would recommend doing more aerobic exercise. That should do the trick.”
I’m going to start it, but sorry, I’m not ready to give up steak and ale pies and pints at football. This is a non-negotiable. I’ve got to run – meet my mates at the pub… er, sorry, I mean the health club!
- The EFL’s 72 clubs are running community events as part of the league’s Week of Action.
A report – produced by research specialists Substance – showed EFL clubs created more than £865 million of social value across England and Wales between 2019 and 2022. Over £101m has been generated for community investment.