Anti-Aging and Activity

Being sedentary (inactive) causes changes which accelerated aging at the cellular level.  These changes create a vicious circle.  Being sedentary creates unhealthy cells and which then snowball into creating an even more sedentary lifestyle.

According to  American Journal of Epidemiology, inactivity shortens the telomeres at the ends of chromosomes and shorter telomeres causes aging.

Essentially this inactivity causes older, and therefore unhealthier cells.

“Our study found cells age faster with a sedentary lifestyle,” said Aladdin Shadyab, lead author of the study, from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

“Chronological age doesn’t always match biological age.”

The most sedentary among the women included in the study were biologically eight years older biologically than the women who had moderate activity for at least 30 minutes a day.

Aging of  healthy cells was slowed in women who got more than 30 minutes a day of moderate activity.

Regular engagement in physical activity increased anti-oxidant activity and may induce anti-inflammatory responses.

We do know that regular physical activity helps to reduce mortality and prolong life, and now we know part of that advantage may be due to the preservation of telomeres.

Take Away Tip: The laziness factor

If you sit at your computer during the day and evening, like most of us, it is wise to get up and take a break.  Try to move every few hours.  For each hour sitting, we recommend at least five minutes of walking or other movement.

Example: For every 8 hours of sitting you will need 40 minutes of walking to counteract the effects of inactivity.   Sleeping (up to 8 hours per night) doesn’t count.  Getting your 8 hours of beauty sleep is just as important as being physically active.

 “The more physically active we are, the less biological aging takes place in our bodies.”The study found that people who exercise vigorously, women would need to do aerobic activity, jog etc. for 30 minutes – at least five times a week, have younger cells as measured through the length of telomeres.

Telomeres are protein endcaps of our chromosomes. These endcaps shorten as we age because each time a cell replicates, they shorten a tiny bit. Exercise appears to stave this off this shortening.

The shortest telomeres were observed in subjects with a sedentary lifestyle.