Exercize Reduces Cellular Aging Among Older Women

The study published online in the open access journal PLoS ONE reports that telomere length is increasingly considered a biological marker of the accumulated wear and tear of living, integrating genetic influences, lifestyle behaviors, and stress.  

Telomeres are protective strips of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes and stop them unravelling, not unlike the plastic sheaths on the ends of shoelaces.  The researchers found that even a moderate amount of vigorous exercise appears to provide a critical amount of protection for the telomeres.

There is also growing evidence that short telomeres are linked to several health problems, including diabetes and coronary heart disease, as well as early death.

The researchers built on previous UCSF-led studies that found psychological stress causes overall wear and tear in the body at a deep level in cells by promoting cell aging through shortening telomere length.

According to the study as little as 42 minutes of vigorous exercise over a 3-day period, similar to levels recommended by federal health authorities in the US, seems to protect individuals from the effects of stress by reducing its effect on telomere length.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults undertake 75 minutes of vigorous, or 150 minutes of moderate activity, plus weight-bearing exercise, every week notes Jesse Slome, executive direxctor of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

The results confirmed earlier findings from research on premenopausal women that found psychological stress promoted immune cell aging through shortening of telomeres.

But when they analysed the results for the highly stressed women in terms of sedentary and inactive participants (the active participants included all those who met or exceeded the federally recommended 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week), they found only the sedentary high stress participants had shorter telomeres.

The active, high stress participants did not have shorter telomeres. In other words, it appears that high stress predicted shorter telomeres in the sedentary but not the active group.

The researchers suggested that for this group of older women, the CDC recommended level of vigorous exercise is enough to buffer the effect that psychological stress has on telomere length.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Slashdot
  • Technorati

Tags: , , , , , , , ,