A recent study showed that exercise just might be your ticket to anti-aging! While this news is exciting, remember these results need to be replicated several times before we can really call exercise an “anti-aging fix”.
Two groups of runners were studied, one group being an average age of 20.4 years and the other being 51.1 years. The older group had about 35 years of training history and averaged about 50 miles of running each week. The younger group averaged about 45 miles of running weekly. Two more groups containing inactive, age-matched individuals were also examined.
Because much is already known about changes in cells as we age researchers were able to identify ant-aging markers. More specifically, we know that telomere length is shortened, as we grow older. However, this study found that the active middle-aged group had only a slight, and insignificant, shortening of telomeres when compared to the younger groups. Of course, both active and inactive subjects in the younger groups had no significant difference in their telomere lengths, as they have not aged. The inactive, middle-aged group had significant shortening of their telomeres, signifying aging.
What does this mean for you and me? Well, we don’t really know yet. I am a very active person, but I do not average 45 or 50 miles of running each week! While running is my main mode of exercise, I enjoy biking and other types of exercise. Is the anti-aging effect the same with all activities? What is the minimum weekly exercise needed to achieve this effect? What is the minimum intensity? These are all questions that stem from this research, and I am sure that researchers will be jumping on these questions quickly! Let’s also keep in mind that this research did not include a large number of subjects. I can’t wait to see where this study leads us!
Whether or not exercise will keep me from aging, I do it because I want to be stronger and more energetic as I age.