Lifestyle is also a key focus of our research; we are developing and testing innovative ways of increasing physical activity in older adults in order to reduce the causes of ageing, such as inflammation and promote musculoskeletal health.
A recent study that recruited 125 male and female amateur cyclists aged 55 to 79 found that loss of muscle mass and strength did not occur in those who exercise regularly; the cyclists did not increase their body fat or cholesterol levels with age and the women maintained good bone density. These findings suggested that maintaining a high level of physical activity can prevent many of the negative aspects of ageing.
More surprisingly, the study also revealed that the benefits of exercise extended beyond muscle and bone as the cyclists also had an immune system that did not seem to have aged either. The findings come as figures show that less than half of over 65s do enough exercise to stay healthy and more than half of those aged over 65 suffer from at least two diseases.