Could Laziness Really Be the Key to a Longer Life? the Research That Gives Jim Royle and Other Couch Potatoes the Last Laugh

Daily Mail (London), January 10, 2005 | Go to article overview
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Could Laziness Really Be the Key to a Longer Life? the Research That Gives Jim Royle and Other Couch Potatoes the Last Laugh


Byline: ANDY DOLAN

IT will come as welcome relief to Jim Royles everywhere.

A new book claims the key to a long and happy life is not healthy eating and plenty of exercise - but laziness.

The authors, a retired professor and his GP daughter, argue that every one of us has a limited amount of 'life energy' and the speed at which it is used up has a direct bearing on how long we live.

High-energy activities such as running and workouts in the gym use up this energy, they say, accelerating the ageing process and making the body more susceptible to illness.

Those who prefer to lead the couch potato lifestyle beloved of the Royle Family's patriarch produce fewer 'free radicals' in their body - the unstable oxygen molecules which are believed to contribute to ageing.

Dr Michaela Axt-Gadermann, a German, said: 'Laziness is important for a healthy immune system because special immune cells are stronger in times of relaxation than stress. During relaxation, or "down time", your metabolism is less active, which means the body produces fewer free radicals.

'If you do a lot of sport or are permanently stressed, then your body will produce more free radicals and that is one reason why your life could be shortened.' She said a stressful lifestyle combined with excessive exercise causes hormones to be produced which lead to high blood pressure and possible damage to the heart and arteries.

The 37-year-old doctor - who like her father, former Fulda University professor of health science Dr Peter Axt, is a former longdistance runner - said laughing was a healthier activity than jogging.

'When you laugh, your body produces the hormone serotonin which makes you feel happy and relaxed,' she said.

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