Can Exercise Slow Cellular Aging?
Study after study has conclusively shown that exercise can greatly slow the impact of aging. In fact, studies have indicated that with exercise it is possible to impact nearly every system and part of the body. The days of exercise only being associated with muscle strength and endurance and cardiovascular health are a thing of the past.
Today, doctors and researchers know that exercise can work to slow down the mechanisms in the body that cause and contribute to aging in a variety of forms. Thus, there is no real doubt that aging can increase one's overall fitness, as exercise can improve everything from bone density to reducing stress. But does exercise also slow aging at the cellular level? In this article, we will explore aging and how it can potentially be addressed at the cellular level via exercise.
Wrinkles and Gray Hair are Only Symptoms
The bottom line is that quite literally "everything" in the body happens at the cellular level. The signs of aging that you may see, such as wrinkles and gray hair, are only outward and obvious symptoms of what is happening at the cellular level. Supplements and a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can do much to help keep this process at bay, but exercise should never be overlooked, as it plays a critically important role in aging. Research has shown that exercise can actually slow down the mechanisms that are responsible for aging at the cellular level.
Exercise and Telomere Shortening
In particular, exercise appears to keep the telomeres from unraveling and becoming damaged. Telomeres are areas on DNA at the end of chromosomes. If these areas become damaged and unravel, DNA does not continue to replicate in the proper fashion and the end result is aging. There is a good deal of research being conducted into potential drug based approaches for telomere shortening, yet these drugs are still years away.
In a study at Saarland University in Homburg, Germany, researchers took a look at young professional runners and middle-aged runners who had a consistent pattern of exercise throughout their lives. They compared these athletes with young people who did not exercise. They found that the loss of telomeres was lower in the middle-aged runners who had been exercising consistently over the years.
Even though it may be many years before there are drugs or supplements that can help address the issue of degraded telomeres, there are ways that you can slow down the aging process today. One key way is exercise as exercise works at the cellular level to prevent aging. Additionally, choosing the right foods and getting enough sleep can also play a significant role.
Investing Your Time in Exercise
You may feel that you don't have the time to exercise. However, considering the health benefits, it does make sense to see if you can find the time. Often it is possible to work exercise into your day by restructuring your time. This process may not be easy, but considering that the reward may be a longer and healthier life, isn't it worth it?