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   Aug 16

How your favourite tipple could help keep you supple: Enjoying the occasional alcoholic drink may improve fitness levels in middle and old age

Study shows teetotallers have difficulty carrying out everyday movements

Those who have a drink up to four times a week had least trouble moving

Experts hail the research for celebrating diet of moderation not fasting

Enjoying the occasional glass of wine could help keep you physically fit in middle and old age, according to a study.

A good thing: Researchers found people who have four drinks a week, such as glasses of wine, find movement easier in later life

Surprisingly the findings appeared to show being teetotal had the reverse effect, with abstainers more likely to have difficulty carrying out everyday movements such as walking and getting dressed.

Researchers from University College London looked at the drinking habits and physical ability of nearly 30,000 men and women aged between 45 and 69.

Those who enjoyed a tipple up to four times a week were found to be the most supple and had the least trouble walking, eating, dressing and reaching.

The worst physical condition of all was seen among those who didn’t drink.

Even when former alcoholics – who were more likely to be in poorer physical condition – were removed from the figures, teetotallers were 27 per cent more likely to experience problems than those who drank regularly.

The study, published in the journal Age And Ageing, concluded: ‘Alcohol consumption was inversely associated with physical limitations in ageing populations.

‘Non-drinkers had the highest odds of physical limitations, but no increased odds were found in the heaviest drinking group.

‘After excluding former drinkers, the results are consistent with a small protective effect for physical limitations.’ It comes after the Daily Mail revealed last week that the Government’s health quango will tell Britons to avoid drinking alcohol on consecutive days.

Public Health England says the ‘one day on, one day off’ rule is needed because daily drinking is a key contributor to increased health risks.

Paul Green, of over-50s group Saga, said: ‘I think people are getting tired of being told to worry about their lifestyles when they are reasonable, responsible and relaxed.

‘People in their 50s and beyond have earned the right to be credited with some wisdom and common sense. They tend to eat and drink in moderation without being told to. So it’s refreshing to see research which confirms that this is the best way to live.’

Enjoy yourself: Experts hailed the research which endorsed all things in moderation rather than depriving yourself of food and drink you enjoy

Age UK recently claimed that alcohol-related deaths are growing among the elderly and has called for action to tackle the problem.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said: ‘Drinking low to moderate levels of alcohol can often be an important part of social life for older people.

‘However, excessive drinking in later life is a growing and serious problem and it is often linked to other issues such as bereavement, loneliness and isolation.

‘Everyone reacts differently but people need to be aware that too much alcohol can both cause and exacerbate health problems.’

Source: Daily Mail

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