Regular Exercise Key to Slow Down Aging by Affecting Telomeres Length

In a new research finding by the scientists at Brigham Young University, based in Utah, we may have found the key to slow down the aging process. The scientists in the study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, in May, 2017 have revealed that the secret to cell-based aging is coded in the tiny bits of our DNA. These tips found on the ends of our chromosome are called telomeres and their length get shortened each time the cells replicate, making you older.

Startling as it may seem, the aging can be reversed by keeping yourself physically active with regular and consistent levels of exercise. While a variety of factors, including lifestyle changes, influence the length of the telomeres in your chromosome, exercise seems to be easiest way to reverse aging.

Longer Telomere Signals Clear Advantage in Aging

The finding underlies the observation the researchers made by correlating the telomere length with the aging process among a number of people with varying levels of physical activity. Larry Tucker, one of the researchers, and a professor specializing in the exercise sciences, observed that people with elevated physical activity levels possess telomeres of nine years younger compared to those who are sedentary. Furthermore, these adults have telomeres with biological age of seven years younger than people who exercise only moderately. Tucker revealed that the telomeres of least length were observed in the sedentary people.

The data were gleaned through by observing the physical activity of 5,823 adults who may have engaged in 62 activities over a 30-day duration. The subjects had participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a unique survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Moderate Activity May Not Make Any Difference

Surprisingly, the revelation that may alert many is that there isn’t any marked difference in the telomere length between those with low level of physical activity and those with sedentary lifestyle. So the writing on the wall is clear—low or moderate physical activities is equivalent to none. So then, what constitutes the right amount of exercise: For women, they need to sweat it out with at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercises and men need to exercise for at least 40 minutes for five days a week to keep themselves active.

While it’s still not clear about the exact mechanism by which exercise affects the length of telomeres in adults, Tucker opines that regular physical activity suppresses inflammation and oxidative stresses—factors closely linked to the telomeres length.