High Levels Of Exercise Linked To Nine Years Less Aging At The Cellular Level

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High Levels Of Exercise Linked To Nine Years Of Less Aging At The Cellular Level
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If you want to reduce aging at the cellular level by almost a decade, you should regularly partake in intense exercise. This finding was revealed by a new study carried out by researchers at Brigham Young University. [1]

According to exercise science professor Larry Tucker, one of the study’s authors, people who are 40 years old are not 40 years biologically. Individuals who seem younger than their age are typically more physically active than others. Tucker and his colleagues posited the relationship between high levels of consistent exercise and reduced cellular age. Those who have higher physical activity levels enjoy a nine-year advantage over those who are sedentary and a seven-year advantage over those who are moderately active. The researchers published their findings in the journal Preventive Medicine.

The study gathered information from more than five thousand adults who were part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey which includes the evaluation of the participants’ telomere values. The researchers also considered the activities engaged in by the participants over a 30-day period.

Telomeres – the protein “endcaps” on chromosomes – are the biological clock of humans. As we age, a small portion of the endcap is lost, making the proteins correlated with aging. Tucker’s team found the shortest telomeres in people who were sedentary. Highly active individuals have 140 more base pairs of DNA than those who do not work out regularly at high levels. However, the team was surprised by the lack of significant difference in telomere length between sedentary people and participants who got low or moderate exercise.

The findings add another evidence on the association between longer telomeres and exercise. In 2015, a study revealed that unusually shorter telomeres could be avoided if a person does a more variety of exercises such as walking, riding, or weight training. [2]

The relationship between telomere length and physical activity level was also the subject explored by a 2008 study. The researchers confirmed the protective effect provided by moderate physical activity on telomere length. [3]

Back in 2013, a study showed the influence of regular engagement in ultra-endurance aerobic exercise on the attenuation of cellular aging. The comparative study focused on ultra-marathon runners and healthy males. It also revealed ultra-endurance exercise’ lack of adverse effects on the cardiovascular system through telomere attrition. [4]

High levels of exercise are not the only way to lengthen your telomeres. There are other lifestyle changes you can make to keep your telomeres healthy.

Control And Reduce Stress

Shorter telomeres have long been linked to chronic stress by several studies. A 2014 study discovered that African-American boys who came from stressful environments had shorter telomeres than peers from stable homes. [5]

Eat Foods Rich In Antioxidants And High In Vitamins

You can slow down aging and prevent or reduce cell damage by having a diet high in antioxidant foods. Vitamin supplements can also help, as posited by one study which found that women who had a daily supplement had longer telomeres than non-users. [6]

Practice Meditation And Yoga

Increased telomerase activity was confirmed by a 2013 study which looked at men who underwent a vegan diet, aerobic exercise, and stress management practices that included yoga. [7]


[1] Tucker LA et al. Preventive Medicine. Physical activity and telomere length in U.S. men and women: An NHANES investigation. https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0091743517301470

[2] Loprinzi PD et al. November 2015. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Movement-Based Behaviors and Leukocyte Telomere Length among US Adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25970659

[3] Ludlow AT et al. October 2008. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Relationship between Physical Activity Level, Telomere Length, and Telomerase Activity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2581416/

[4] Denham J et al. July 31, 2013. Plos One. Longer Leukocyte Telomeres Are Associated with Ultra-Endurance Exercise Independent of Cardiovascular Risk Factors. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0069377

[5] Mitchell C et al. February 29, 2014. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Social disadvantage, genetic sensitivity, and children’s telomere length. https://pnas.org/content/111/16/5944.abstract

[6] Xu Q et al. March 11, 2009. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Multivitamin use and telomere length in women. https://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/6/1857.full

[7] Omish D et al. September 17, 2013. The Lancet. Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy-proven low-risk prostate cancer: 5-year follow-up of a descriptive pilot study. https://www.ornish.com/wp-content/uploads/Lancet_Lifestyle-changes-lengthen-telomeres.pdf

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