Chronic inflammation is one of the major causes of the changes that we have assumed to be due to the normal ageing process

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Vast sums of money are being spent on the search for the elixir of life, a drug that would slow the ageing process. But there is no pill or drug that we can recommend. But, there is a fascinating new idea emerging from research and that is that by becoming more active we can reduce the biological change that seems to be one of the main causes of what we call the ageing process   –inflammation.

We all know about acute inflammation, the swollen, red tenderness round an infected cut.  But now it appears that chronic inflammation is one of the major causes of the changes that we have assumed to be due to the normal ageing process. And which we thought nothing could be done. However, inflammation of key tissues, blood vessels and the brain for example, can be prevented and the main means of prevention is activity.

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To understand why getting moving can prevent ageing we need to look at the stress reaction. This is sometimes called the fight or flight reaction. When we were evolving as human being’s life was full of sudden dangers.  We would react to an encounter with a sabre tooth tiger or a hostile neighbouring tribe for example. The stress reaction then was very helpful either helping you take flight and run away quickly, or fight.

Nowadays such threats are uncommon but stress is still very common!  But stress today is often experienced in a situation when you cannot fight or take flight.  And we now know that if you experience stress when you are physically inactive the result is an inflammatory reaction. If for example there is a family quarrel or a complaint from a neighbour and you have to cope with the stress while sitting and inactive the result is inflammation.

Stress + inactivity = Inflammation

Reproduced from Sod Sitting, Get Moving!: Getting Active in Your 60s, 70s and Beyond Hardcover – 9 Mar. 2017 by Sir Muir Gray (Author), Diana Moran  (Author), David Mostyn (Illustrator)To buy a copy click here

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