A study just determined that long-term physical activity has an anti-aging effect at the cellular level. The Journal of the American Heart Association just put into circulation the findings of a study that was funded by the German Research Association & the University of Saarland.
The highlights of the study are:
- Long term physical activity has an anti-aging effect on the cells, meaning that exercise might prevent the aging of the cardiovascular system.
- Two groups of professional athletes were compared to a group who were non-athletes. The long term professional athlete’s cells indicated that there were molecular differences that can lead to reduced aging.
The researchers were looking at the length of the telomeres. The telomeres are the DNA that bookends the chromosomes and protects them from damage. When the telomeres are shortening it limits the number of cell divisions which can effect your biological clock. Shortening of the telomeres from cell division leads to aging on a cellular level and could shorten life.
Ulrich Laufs, M.D., the study’s lead author and professor of clinical and experimental medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at Saarland University in Homburg, Germany said,“The most significant finding of this study is that physical exercise of the professional athletes leads to activation of the important enzyme telomerase and stabilizes the telomere,” He also states, “This is direct evidence of an anti-aging effect of physical exercise. Physical exercise could prevent the aging of the cardiovascular system, reflecting this molecular principle.”
In other words, the long and hard lifetime training of the professional athletes (up to 50 miles of running per week ) keeps the telomere longer and prevents them from dying off. I have always felt that exercise prolongs life but it’s so hard to prove. This study provides some evidence that long hard training can prolong life but you would have to run 50 miles per week for a life time to get the cellular effect. Is that realistic?
I would like to ask my readers this: If you were guaranteed to live longer, but you had to run 50 miles per week, would you do it?
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Best- Mike Cola