Growing old gracefully

Tuesday 14 September 2010
Catherine Duffy, as she is now, and artificially aged twenty years with exercise and without.

Shocking pictures showing what life as a couch potato can do to your looks have been released today by researchers.

Experts in ageing at the University of St Andrews have used the latest facial imaging technology to show how a lack of exercise can have a detrimental effect on the ageing process.

Using real people, the psychologists modelled how a sedentary lifestyle would age the face over a period of twenty years, with striking results.

Researcher Ross Whitehead explained, “The aim of this study was to highlight that an active lifestyle can benefit appearance, in addition to health. By looking at the height and weight of the three volunteers, and the consequences of exercising versus not exercising for facial appearance, we were able to build an image of how they would appear in five, ten and twenty years.”

The St Andrews researchers teamed up with Active Nation – a nationwide initiative encouraging Scots to get more active in the lead up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games and beyond – for the latest study.

Taking into account the average weight gain in line with age (about 1¼ lbs for women and 1½ lbs for men per year), they developed a comprehensive picture of the effect that no exercise has on the face.  Neck and jowls are the most affected areas of the face with saggy loose skin, while the forehead and eye area tend to fatten.

One of the participants was Catherine Duffy (43), a hockey player from Lanarkshire.  She commented, “I really enjoy keeping active but it always surprises me when others avoid exercise at all costs. I think if everyone got to see what they would look like in twenty years they would be straight down to the gym without giving it a second thought.”

For further information on Our Active Nation visit:


Note to Editors

The researcher Ross Whitehead is available for interview on (01334) 463044.

Note to Picture Editors

Images are available from the Press Office – contacts below.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews

Contact Gayle Cook, Senior Communications Manager on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email [email protected]

Ref:  Growing old 140909

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