Senior couple keeping fit and being active walking in the the woods - Dare To Be Purple - Purple Hearts

New fitness technology – not just glorified pedometers…


Maybe you’ve had a slow start to 2016, or haven’t gotten round to making those New Year’s Resolutions that most people forget after January 3rd… But it’s not too late to take charge of the one thing most people try to tackle in their ‘New Year, new me’ schemes – fitness.

There are some fantastic new products on the market, in the form of innovative smart watches and phone apps, to personalised fitness routines and meal planners that are easy to use and suitable for everybody. Campaigns like ‘This Girl Can’ and ‘Change4Life’ are encouraging men and women of all ages and sporting abilities to keep active and healthy and there’s no reason why anybody with a disability or mobility impairment should miss out. One way to really get stuck in to fitness is to get to know the effect that your exercise is having on your body, both during and after activity, and to track your progress on interactive charts that many products and apps now offer.

Using the Apple Watch, for example, you can set timers that will remind you to stretch your legs, if you’ve been sitting at a desk too long, or to remind you of pressure relief if you’re a wheelchair user. You can make unique exercise plans set personal goals on apps like the step-counter, heartrate monitor and calorie counter. It offers different exercise options from walking and pushing to cycling and rowing. You can also track your exercise routes on mini maps and compare the distance and difficulty of your various trails with your friends. Since many hesitate over the Apple Watch because of the price, there are cheaper alternatives on the market and, although they don’t feature the signature Apple touch screen, they can still monitor body function, assess the quality of your sleep and connect to a PC so you can trace your progress.

Fitbit have eight models that range from £45 to £200, depending on how many different things you want it to do. The most basic Fitbit, the ‘Zip’, will count your steps, keep track of your active minutes and, of course, tell the time. The most advanced model, the ‘Surge’, offers things you’d expect from a smartphone: GPS tracking, music control, text and call notifications and sleep assessment. It automatically recognises when you begin to exercise, counts steps and floors climbed, monitors heartrate and offers multiple sport settings, to make sure the data it gives you is as accurate as possible. The models in between the Zip and the Surge offer different groups of functions, so you can choose how much or how little would be most useful to you. The Fitbit also comes in up to ten colours, depending on the model, so you can even get personal with the aesthetics.

Some wheelchair users choose not to wear a watch but, if you have a smartphone, you can always find apps that will help you create exercise tables and design meal plans. Argus, for example, is a neat all-in-one activity tracker that monitors your sleep, heart rate, calorie intake and more. The app offers challenges to overcome, as well as the option to build your own workout plan. You can even add food you eat by scanning the barcode on the label to track your calories. Some apps, such as Carrot Fit and JETFIT offer short, intense workouts for different parts of the body, depending on what you need to work on and… they’re free! Many both educate about anatomy and help the user to observe and improve their own fitness. Why not try one today? They take seconds to download and cost nothing.
It’s also a bit different from the standard chocolates and flowers this Valentine’s Day. If you and your other half exercise together, it’s a great way to compare progress and share achievements. If you’re not gym buddies, perhaps a gift like a Fitbit will start a new, ‘healthier living’ chapter!


Out and about exercises

Check out the if there are any specially designed exercise classes in your area Extend Exercise Classes or moveitorloseit in your area

Free Guided Walks throughout the UK

Two rollators designed for outdoors and offroad

  • Topro Olympos from Norway
  • The tires designed to be comfortable driving on rough foundations like cobblestone or dirt roads and Made from materials that tolerate all kinds of weather.
  • kerb lifters and edge guard.


If you don’t want to or can’t leave the house (or even your chair) then don’t let that stop you:

Motorised Pedal Exercisers or Magnetrainer

Senior Exercise DVDs

Cando hand exercisers

The Chairmaster, not yet available in the UK but is this purple or beige? What do you think?


If you want to get in touch to recommend a product to review or have your own product that you want to talk about, let us know!


Older man being active and driving a care - Dare To Be Purple

Keep on moving – in your Porsche!



You know that the over 50’s have it all when you read an article from SAGA that we as a group spend more on motoring than any other age.

People over 50 spent £7.6 billion in 2014 on new cars; more than £6 of every £10 of new car spend in Britain, and were also twice as likely to opt for a Porsche, Mini or Jaguar than anyone else.

Car ownership, which keeps the over 50 mobile and engaged in social activities, has been steadily rising since 2000 and this increase has been especially dramatic for those over 75 as people in the UK live longer.

Keeping mobile has an upside for UK Plc because people who can get about remain independent for longer, reducing care and health costs.

So what Purple products are out there out there to help us all keep moving? Well it’s hard to find a stand out product here but given their functionality, here’s 9 categories that can keep you moving, together with a reminder about the things you need to know about driving when you’re older. Sometimes it makes sense to act within the law!


Car Caddie - Dare To Be Purple









Keeping active can slow your ageing - Dare To Be Purple Blog

How long are your telomeres?

New research from the US and reported in the American press (from which most of this article has been shamefacedly plagiarised) suggests that almost any amount and type of physical activity may slow ageing deep within our cells and starting exercise from the age of 40 has the most profound effect.

Dating a cell’s age is tricky, because its biological and chronological ages rarely match. A cell could be relatively young in terms of how long it has existed but function slowly or erratically, as if elderly so many scientists have begun determining a cell’s biological age — meaning how well it functions and not how old it literally is — by measuring the length of its telomeres.

telomere is a region of repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a chromatid, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with neighbouring chromosomes or…… for those who don’t know that much genetics and DNA engineering; they’re like tiny caps found on the end of DNA strands, akin to the end bit of your shoelace. They’re believed to protect the DNA from damage during cell division and replication.

As a cell ages, its telomeres naturally shorten and fray – just like shoelaces. But unlike shoelaces, the process can be accelerated by obesity, smoking, insomnia, diabetes and other aspects of health and lifestyle. In those cases, the affected cells age prematurely.

However, the scientists’ study suggests that exercise may slow the fraying of telomeres. Past studies have found, for instance, that athletes typically have longer telomeres than sedentary people of the same age, as do older women who frequently walk or engage in other fairly moderate exercise, (read previous blog about the benefits of walking) but this study looked far wider.

In this study they found that people who did a variety of exercise were nearly 60% likely to have longer telomeres than someone who participated in a single activity who were 3% likely to have long telomeres than someone who did no exercise at all.

Interestingly, these associations were strongest among people between the ages of 40 and 65, suggesting that middle age may be a key time to begin or maintain an exercise program if you wish to keep telomeres from shrinking.

However, the study was purely associational, so cannot show whether exercise actually causes changes in telomere length, only that people who exercise have longer telomeres.

Perhaps most important, the results from this study don’t tell us whether longer telomeres translate into better health. But other studies have shown that telomeres are predictive of mortality, with shorter telomeres equating to shorter lives.

So the message seems clear; a variety of exercise is good for your cells, a good time to start exercising is in those middle to late years and genetic engineering is as simple as tying your shoelaces!

So go on, elongate those telomeres, your health depends on it!

Keep active by keep walking - Dare To Be Purple Blog

Hey! Couch potato! Let us show you the door!

Most of us have a tendency to be lazy at this time of year. It’s dull, wet and windy outside and we’re nice and warm, building our ‘winter coat’ with chocolate digestives and sweet tea. Eventually there comes a time (January) when many of us will join a gym, drawn in by special ‘never to be repeated’ offers and motivated by the rather obvious point that our winter coat is now rather too snug and our level of inactivity is considered by some as late hibernation.

The gym generally goes well until we reach February and then we notice that the other people we joined with (and hid amongst), are no longer to be seen. Now it’s just you and the narcissist, mirror watching, grunting weight lifter and some non-stop treadmill runners. This is often the tipping point back to a sedentary life and hibernation.

You assuage any guilt by the strong and misguided self-belief that you’re not really overweight, really quite active and you are also too old for this ‘gym’ malarkey.

However, here’s the hard truth – seventy-eight per cent of us claim to be active for our age according to a series of studies into family life in Britain by Nestlé Family Monitor but the survey showed that 74 per cent of people aged over 50 never played sport and 63 per cent never exercised. Many of us do nothing more strenuous than walking to the shops once or twice a week.

As a result, more than half of us aged over 50 are overweight, including 16 per cent who are obese running the risk of losing our mobility and becoming a burden on relatives and the state.

Well here’s some good news. A recent study reported that women of all ages and men over 50 stayed slimmer when they took a brisk daily jaunt rather than signing up with a health club.

A study from the London School of Economics drew the rather obvious conclusion that going to the gym takes much more time than just walking out your front door and that walking, when started is a lasting habit.

Well stone the crows, there you have it – walking is good for you, in fact it’s good for all of us! Dr Stan Grant, a lecturer in physiology and sport science at Glasgow University said that his own research shows that it is not too late for an improvement in health, even if a person is 89 years of age.

However, research from the Rudd Centre for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University shows that making overweight or obese people feel bad about their bodies actually increases their risk of becoming or staying obese. So what can we do to help nudge the couch potatoes amongst us into action?

Well here’s what we think could help – technology and specifically activity trackers, those wearable devices that count steps or measure distance travelled and perhaps advise on calories burned.

But before you go out of your front door to buy a tracker and start walking to John ‘O’ Groats or Lands’ End here’s some advice:

  1. If you are under medical supervision consider talking to your doctor before you commence daily exercise. It’s unlikely they’ll stop you, in fact we’re sure they be very supportive but best to check.
  2. Don’t push it. Gradually build up your distance. Don’t set yourself up for failure with over ambitious plans such as a 5-mile route march on day 1.
  3. Make your walking activity a family or team affair. The best way to lose weight and to be more active is to have some support. Partner up with someone else to encourage each other to eat healthy and be more physically fit. You’re twice as likely to keep a daily routine up if you team up with someone else – you could share the cost of the tracker; you’ll only need one if you walk together.
  4. Pick a tracker to suit you. Consider options; find out what other people are using and if you know of a ‘Purple’ tracker (great design and good functionality) please share it with us.
  5. Choose something that you can use. It doesn’t have to be the latest craze, the one with the most features – you don’t need a £500 Apple Watch to do the basics; we’re only really looking to count steps and/or calories!
  6. Don’t distort these health tools into instruments of punishment. Use the tracker as a way to keep healthy, don’t punish yourself for what you fail to achieve.

Given that walking is cheap, engages you with your environment, offers you the chance to meet people, helps reduce stress, de-risks many life threatening conditions, keeps you mobile, reduces your future dependency on relatives and the state, what is stopping you? Jeremy Kyle, Moving Holmes, Call of Duty?!

Go find your front door, open it, step through it and start changing things for the better!