Exercise helps you live longer

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There are many creams and capsules that can help maintain a youthful appearance. But to look younger on the inside, research suggests you should sweat more.

Several studies have shown that people who engage in high levels of regular exercise can slow aging on a cellular level. How do you do that? By producing longer telomeres.

Telomeres are the caps on the ends of chromosomes. Their job is to protect our DNA, similar to plastic caps that keep shoelaces from fraying. But every time a cell replicates, it loses a little bit of its telomeres. The older we get, the more times our cells replicate, which is why telomere length is directly related to aging.

Inflammation and oxidative stress are also thought to make telomeres shorter. Researchers believe this is why an anti-inflammatory diet, stress management, and exercise may slow telomere erosion. But not just any type of exercise will do. Three studies have found that intense exercise, such as jogging for at least three hours a week, is key.

Nearly 6,000 adults took part in a new experiment at Brigham Young University. The study found that women who ran for 30 minutes five times a week and men who ran for 40 minutes five times a week had their telomeres protected, making their average biological age nine years younger than those who did not exercise at all. People who exercised less intensely also saw some telomere benefits, but not as much. Their biological age was two years younger than that of the lazy participants.

A 2012 experiment conducted by researchers from Chung-Ang University Medical Center in Seoul analyzed the exercise habits of 44 postmenopausal women. Participants who did aerobic exercise and resistance training three or more times a week had significantly longer telomeres than sedentary women.

A 2008 study of 2,400 twins at King’s College London found that exercise can even override the effect of genes on telomere length. The researchers found that the more active twin, he or she had longer telomeres.

Also, for extra support, consider incorporating sports nutrition products into your fitness routine on the advice of your doctor or personal trainer. Products to watch for include pre-workout and recovery formulas to improve your workout performance, protein products, and other popular supplements like sarcosine and L-carnitine. There are even women’s sports products on offer.


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