I have been struck by the sheer number of people in motorised wheelchairs that I see every day... combined with tv adverts for circulation boosters and the like.

From my perspective as a former couch potato, I think plain truth is: use it or lose it! 

One of the most basic exercises you can do in most tai chi styles, is standing in a horse stance (legs like you're riding a horse, knees slightly bent), with your arms in front of you (as if you're holding a giant dinosaur egg pointing away from you). Just doing that and breathing slowly, will gradually help you become able to do more.

Seriously, if you (or your relatives, or friends) aren't moving around, that will cause health problems in itself. Human beings are designed to be moving, not moving is what happens when you're dead!

I read an article recently where the author was going on about standing to keep slim - standing on the bus, on the tube, anywhere really, rather than sinking into a chair. I've been doing that on the tube for a while, mainly because it makes me feel healthier... My preferred pose is back against one of those glass end pieces, knees slightly bent, doing the crossword.  If I sit down on a long journey, I feel quite lethargic when I get up, but when I stand, I feel alert and energised. Try it and see for yourself!

I am not worried about the slimming part - if you eat a healthy diet (cut down the carbs, up the veg), you don't have to worry about piling on the pounds in the first place - but for health, you do need to start by standing instead of sitting. Then go on to walking instead of driving everywhere. Gradually enjoying how your body feels happier and healthier doing these things, will prevent your having to slump into one of those motorised wheelchairs, and prevent a whole host of conditions that are brought on by inactive slumping.

Stand up for your health - quite literally!