There is much to be said for taking it slow. Whether you dream about slow cooking or a ‘Slow Boat to China’, the same principles that make ‘slow’ work, apply equally to our lives. It is not just longevity. Vital and fulfilling lives will not automatically come from longer ones. Nor do we expect time to miraculously stand still, but we know it can get away on us. Slow is about taking your time (back).

Ageing is often inexorably linked with disease and decline, rather than being seen as an opportunity for growth and value.  Ageing is and should be positive. Old age can be productive, built on the back of wisdom and skills accrued over many years. Our life’s journey is a wonderful thing and something to be enjoyed. There a number of opportunities to get here, as there are prospects to lose your way. This book gives you the foundation to look where you are going and find your own ways to stay on track.

This book looks at some of the practical ways to apply slow to the ageing process. It is not rocket science. But at the same time it is not about shunning research and technology, rather acknowledging the role many different resources can play in reaching our goals, as well as their limitations.  The challenge with getting to grips with ageing is complex.  This book is a collaborative effort.  More than thirty general and specialist doctors, scientists and other health professionals have contributed to put together its contents. We aim to tell you what you need to know, based on an up-to-date overview of the scientific evidence. Some of the information is technical.  This is sometimes the only way in to finding what choices you have and why you would consider making them.  Where possible, we have tried to bring the material down to earth, showing real-life examples of how things really work.

Healthy ageing won’t happen by mistake. It requires significant planning and investment. This book seeks to put some of options before you and a decision-support framework that is directed by you. We don’t recommend any particular strategy. There is no miracle ‘cure-all solution’ in these pages. Instead we aim to assist you in rationally selecting the most appropriate options for your needs and provide the tools and support to stay on tracks. We have developed this book as a way to navigate the many and varied options you’ll come across in your quest to slow ageing and optimise your health and wellness. We provide a framework so you can make informed decisions in an environment where there is much conflicting and confusing information. In essence, this book’s goal is to empower you on your slow ageing journey. It seeks to put you in control and remain proactive in managing your life.

A slow journey means having your eyes wide open to what can happen if you do certain things or if you don’t. Many aspects of health and ageing are influenced by the choices you make today. You can actually choose the kind of life you want to live as you age. You don’t have to be neurotic, but simply pay attention and make your choices as though they matter.  Often very small increments can make a great deal of difference when amplified by many years of practice. We don’t advocate anything drastic in this book. These fads are never sustainable and seldom enjoyable. Slow is about taking stock of where you are now and what you are or aren’t doing, recognising our personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as our capacity to make real and lasting change. It is also about being realistic in your health planning process; being clear about what you are prepared to do, when, and how, and understanding their consequences. It is never too late to make a difference. The most important thing about this book is that it is all do-able. This book will give you things you can do today that will make a difference tomorrow.

Unlike many trends, slow ageing is not an alternative approach. In this book, we also look at the practical ways to prevent death and disease. In this context, strategies to slow ageing are even more important, as longevity without preventing the changes of ageing is a curse not a cure. While successful ageing, like health, is not merely the absence of disease, an effective anti-ageing strategy must always also include participation in disease prevention programs and compliance with effective disease management.  Equally, the more we strive to prevent disease, the more important it is to examine ways in which slow ageing can also be incorporated into our lives.

This book developed out of my frustration with ‘anti-ageing’ industry that sought to dictate my actions with the promise of a miracle cure.  I tried many things but came out none the wiser. In the end I wasn’t even sure why I bothered. But the onus has to be on us, as individuals, to take control. My wish is that this book is a guide and companion as you go about getting to the nub of your desires. I’m assuming that if you have reached for this book that you have an idea of what you want and are ready to do some work. So let’s get going!