Monday, 20 June 2022


I’ve spent most of my life convinced that my lifestyle meant I was doomed and destined for a premature handing in of my dinner pail. In 2018 a study determined that any alcoholic drink at all was very, very bad for you. Occasionally, so convinced was I of this, I had a “dry” month and felt exceedingly virtuous but was very grumpy  and restless.

Drunk and Disorderly (Short 2015) - IMDb

Doctors seemed united and thin lipped about this. These cheerless cynics bleakly asserted that when it came to alcohol nil by mouth was what we should aspire to.  Yet if we really had to drink then 14 units a week (disapproving sniff) was the absolute limit; exceeding this would be akin to committing suicide. Despite this a 2019 BMJ Open study of 417 NHS doctors found that 44% of them resorted to binge drinking themselves.

So what the hell was going on? 

Earlier this month a new study came up with a differing account. Here’s the story:

“The European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care will be presented with this study from the University Hospital Bonn in Germany.

628 adults took part with an average age of 72 who were undergoing elective surgery.

The 186 adults in the "medium to hazardous alcohol consumption group" were significantly less likely to be obese or overweight than those who did not drink or drank only occasionally.

Two people holding wine glasses

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The high-drinking group also reported better overall health, less pain and found it easier to perform activities such as getting dressed and seeing family.

Vera Guttenthaler, the study's author, said: "One explanation may be that higher alcohol consumption may lead to elevated mood, enhanced sociability and reduced stress.

"The results may lead to the conclusion that alcohol consumption ... might support older patients to experience a better quality of life before and after elective surgery."

Vera Guttenthaler’s conclusion that alcohol might give you a better quality of life was encouraging to those of us who enjoy drinking. Cheers Vera.

How to Toast in 11 Countries Across the Globe | Going Places

But having established  drinking may, after all, be quite good for you what other lifestyle issues need to be re-examined. Let’s start with exercise. I’m afraid I belong to the Billy Butlin view:

“Whenever I feel the urge to take exercise I sit down until it passes away”. 

But seeing all the rest of my family power-walking, jogging, doing Pilates and generally turning their bodies into objects of well-muscled tautness prompted me to start the restorative process.

I bought a pedometer and now  unless I get in my 10,000 steps a day I feel very uneasy. My wife has watched in alarm as I rush up and down the stairs – 59 of them from top to bottom of the house - or walk round and round the sitting room. I ache all over . But soon I’ll resemble Joe Wicks rather than Mr Blobby.

Say hello to a real game changer / The Body Coach

Next it’s brain exercises. The daily Wordle which I do with my wife honing a series of strategies which have produced a “streak” (that’s a winning run) of over a hundred. 

I might learn a foreign language although that sounds like an  awesome task or write that book I’ve been talking about for ages. Meanwhile I’m trying to fathom the strategy underlying our government’s chaotic activities. Now that’s real brain exercise.

Finally food. My body is a temple – it must be appropriately worshipped. No more pies, no meat, no dairy, nothing that tastes nice. Yeah, well, I’ve tried this before and I doesn’t work. Vegan food just makes me flatulent.

It’s very simple. Let’s listen to Epicurus:- 

“Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die”

Epicurus - The School Of Life


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