Regular exercise can reduce the rate of aging of your body, according to a study conducted by experts from the University of Brigham Young University in the United States. Highly active people – for example, those who devote five days a week for 30-40 minutes running – are younger in the biological sense of the word than those who do not do sports at all. The difference in biological age can reach nine years.
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Data for the study were taken from a survey in which more than 5,800 Americans aged from 20 to 84 years. The survey was conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In addition to information on lifestyle, nutrition, physical activity and health, all the respondents in 1999-2002 took samples of DNA. This was done to measure the length of telomeres, biomarkers of aging – located at the ends of chromosomes, telomeres decrease as a person grows old, and the rate of their decrease in all people is different. Previously, the relationship between physical activity and telomere length was not studied.
It turned out that people who sport have on average significantly longer telomeres than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. In men, the equivalent of 40 minutes of running five times a week was considered a high activity, the woman had 30 minutes of running also five times a week. The difference in biological age, reflected in the length of telomeres, between groups with high and zero activity was nine years, and between groups with high and low activity – seven years. As earlier studies have shown, such differences can be due to the fact that regular exercise reduces the level of inflammation in the blood and struggles with oxidative stress – and both of these factors can affect the length of telomeres.