Study into the benefits of exercise & Telomeres (caps on the end of chromosomes)

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Study into the benefits of exercise & Telomeres (caps on the end of chromosomes)

Summary:
– exercise has the potential to make a person 9 years younger biologically
– research by Barry Tucker at Brigham Young University, Utah
– telomeres are a protective layer on chromosomes
– as a person ages, their telomeres become shorter
– this phenomenon allows comparison between chronological & biological age (that is – the speed of your ageing process)
– it is known that healthy lifestyles (including physical activity) are associated with longer telomeres
– the study looked at 62 activities, length of time doing the activity & the intensity of doing the activity & involved some 6000 adults (from 20 to 84 years of age)
– the study also focused on “MET minutes” – I.e. the amount of energy a person expends in a given exercise per minute, with more intense exercise having a higher MET – for e.g.:
– a walk is 3 or 4 Met minutes
– a jog is 6 or 7 Met minutes

the study’s findings:
– people who were highly active had by far the longest telomeres (least amount of ageing)
– those who were sedentary had the shortest telomeres (greatest amount of biological ageing)
– low activity & moderate activity people had only marginally better outcomes than people who were sedentary – suggest “dose response” does not apply until a person is highly active
– this suggests more intense exercise is beneficial; however, a person can make up the difference if they spend longer doing low Met exercise (I.e. increasing the number of minutes)
– high-level exercise for men involves jogging 40 minutes per day / 5 days per week or, if unable to do jogging – a brisk, exercise-type walk for 60 minutes per day, 5 days / week
– high-level exercise for women involves jogging 30 minutes per day / 5 days per week or, if unable to do jogging – a brisk, exercise-type walk for 45 minutes per day, 5 days / week
– regarding gymnasium-based exercises, the higher the intensity, the shorter the duration required
– re the history of exercise – I.e. how long a person needs to exercise to give themselves the best, on-average chance of slowing the rate of telomere decline/fraying – requires further research
– results though were consistent for people from 20 to 84
– high-intensity exercise did seem to “wind back” the biological clock 9 years on average regarding life expectancy
– the issue remains that the “genetic lottery” is still important because it is still not possible to predict an individual’s life expectancy

Source: ABC RN Health Report | Podcast Date: 29 May 2017

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