Scientists at the University of St Andrews conducted the study as part of Active Nation, an initiative encouraging people in Scotland to get more exercise in the lead-up to Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games. Researcher Ross Whitehead said, ‘The aim of this study was to highlight that an active lifestyle can benefit appearance, in addition to health.’
A team of 10 people from the University’s Perception Lab simulated the effects that not exercising had on an individual’s appearance based on a projected weight gain on average of 0.55kg for women each year and 0.74kg for men. Neck and jowls were the most affected with saggy, loose skin while the forehead and eye area was fatter.
They produced images of three people and how their faces had changed 10 years and 20 years down the line, because of not doing the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week. These were contrasted with images of faces which had benefited from exercise.
One of the participants who took part in the study confessed, ‘I never thought about the damage I could do to my looks further down the line. It’s quite scary to see the difference.’ Mother of one, Lisa Thompson, 20, went onto add, ‘I know I’m not doing enough exercise at the moment but this has given me a kick to get started.’