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Len Goodman’s advice for tackling loneliness

As you get older, it’s easy to just sit back and do nothing. But once you’re up and doing things it makes you feel so much better.

Golf is one of the few sports you can do whatever age you are, and I play at least once a week. I belong to a gym, too, but you can get plenty of exercise at home. Gardening, cleaning the house, going for a walk, even cooking. You could even pickle some walnuts, my favourites! 

Loneliness is a terrible thing at any age, but it can be so debilitating in later life.

Keeping active in older life keeps your brain sharp

I think it is essential to have an active and healthy lifestyle in later life; I have never been busier and never more active than I am now. Exercising regularly and eating healthily are linked to a healthier brain and sharper thinking skills and I think it is so vital to keep your mind active and alert; it builds confidence. But exercise is so good for you, no matter what your age. It is too easy to shut yourself away in later life and become sedentary. Be active – get out and socialise. Meeting other people is a great stimulant.

Dancing is great exercise; as is housework!

I am biased, of course, but dancing is a wonderful way to feel healthy and alive. Any kind of dancing is so stimulating. There are so many dancing clubs out there these days, why not join one? It’s a great way of socialising while learning a new skill. It is never too late to start.

Any amount of physical activity makes such a difference. It gets the heart pumping and the old muscles working, and you can do so much. It could be a brisk walk in the countryside, even doing housework – hoovering, polishing and cleaning are a great form of physical activity. Don’t put it off; make it a fun activity and not a drudgery. Remember, it is doing you good.

If you have one, get on your bike. Cycling is a great way to keep fit. Everyone knows how good gardening is for you – and I recommend it thoroughly. Swimming, too, if you can get to your local baths. They do say that swimming exercises every muscle in your body; that can’t be a bad thing. 

Exercising regularly and eating healthily are linked to a healthier brain and sharper thinking skills.

Exercise can really boost your social circle

Loneliness is a terrible thing at any age, but it can be so debilitating in later life. Most people will feel lonely at some point in their lives; people even say you can feel lonely in a bustling city. As you get older it’s especially important to try and chat to friends to help improve wellbeing and tackle loneliness. Joining local groups – be it a golf club, a swimming session at your local gym, dance classes in the village hall – can really strengthen your wellbeing because you get to make, and spend time with, new friends.

Loneliness can be a tremendous hardship

Friendships are so important in later life. I am an ambassador for Age UK and the charity does such great work to combat loneliness. Their research shows that significant life moments, such as bereavement, serious health diagnosis, or a partner going to live in a care home, can be triggers for older people to become more isolated and feel lonelier. 

Age UK’s phoneline and clubs are there to support people

Give Age UK a call. It’s easy and it’s free. Their confidential information and advice line is open 365 days a year. You can get help and support on any issues you (or a relative or friend) may be facing, including loneliness.

They say it’s good to talk – and a problem shared is a problem halved. 

One answer is not to give in. Be determined to get out and about and meet people. Join one of Age UK’s clubs. A good chat never did anyone any harm. Local Age UKs offer so many services – talk to them and find out about the services they have on offer in their area including activities and befriending services. It could be life-changing. I give Age UK a 10!

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