T Nation

Sedentary Life 'Speeds Up Ageing'

I’m not sure it will get the most exposure here, but if it’s interesting, word will get around, I’m sure. We all know the benefits of exercise, but it’s nice to see some scientific backup explaining these benefits in terms of biological changes. Here’s the article for you guys ‘n’ gals:

Sedentary life ‘speeds up ageing’

Leading a sedentary lifestyle may make us genetically old before our time, a study suggests.

A study of twins found those who were physically active during their leisure time appeared biologically younger than their sedentary peers.

The researchers found key pieces of DNA called telomeres shortened more quickly in inactive people. It is thought that could signify faster cellular ageing.

The King’s College London study appears in Archives of Internal Medicine.

An active lifestyle has been linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

However, the latest research suggests that inactivity not only makes people more vulnerable to disease, but may actually speed up the ageing process itself.

The King’s team studied 2,401 white twins, asking them to fill out questionnaires on their level of physical activity, and taking a blood sample from which DNA was extracted.

They particularly focused on telomeres, the repeat sequences of DNA that sit on the ends of chromosomes, protecting them from damage.

As people age, their telomeres become shorter, leaving cells more susceptible to damage and death.

Examining white blood cells from the immune system in particular, the researchers found that, on average, telomeres lost 21 component parts - called nucleotides - every year.

But men and women who were less physically active in their leisure time had shorter leukocyte telomeres compared to those who were more active.

The average telomere length in those who took the least amount of exercise - 16 minutes of physical activity a week - was 200 nucleotides shorter than those who took the most exercise - 199 minutes of physical activity a week, such as running, tennis or aerobics.

The most active people had telomeres of a length comparable to those found in inactive people who were up to 10 years’ younger, on average.

Direct comparison of twins who had different levels of physical activity produced similar results.

Impact of stress

The researchers suggest that physically inactive people may be more vulnerable to the damage caused to cells by exposure to oxygen, and to inflammation.

Stress is also thought to have an impact on telomere length, and the researchers suggest people who exercise regularly may help to reduce their stress levels.

Writing in the journal, the researchers said: "Our results show that adults who partake in regular physical activity are biologically younger than sedentary individuals.

“This conclusion provides a powerful message that could be used by clinicians to promote the potential anti-ageing effect of regular exercise.”

In an accompanying editorial, Dr Jack Guralnik, of the US National Institute on Aging, said more work was needed to show a direct relationship between ageing and physical activity.

He said: "Persons who exercise are different from sedentary persons in many ways, and although certain variables were adjusted for in this analysis, many additional factors could be responsible for the biological differences between active and sedentary persons.

“Nevertheless, this article serves as one of many pieces of evidence that telomere length might be targeted in studying ageing outcomes.”

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7212698.stm

Interesting, but you’re preaching to the choir. I’ve stopped discussing health and anti-aging issues with people as those who care are already in a program and those who don’t care don’t want to hear it.

HappyDog, not preaching, just sharing :slight_smile:

Clearly, we’re all here (at T-Nation) for a reason, and it’s not to waste away like forgotten cucumbers at the back of the fridge.

I just think it’s great that they’re finding actual physiological evidence that a lack of physical activity will make your body degrade faster.

[quote]Miserere wrote:
HappyDog, not preaching, just sharing :slight_smile:

Clearly, we’re all here (at T-Nation) for a reason, and it’s not to waste away like forgotten cucumbers at the back of the fridge.

I just think it’s great that they’re finding actual physiological evidence that a lack of physical activity will make your body degrade faster.[/quote]

Hey, thanks for sharing ;^)

I wouldn’t want to be caught short with my telomeres hanging out.

PS Jillybop says you have the sexiest voice ever

I appreciate this type of post. At 45 years old I discovered that I was old. Now 6 years later, except fot the grey hair, I look and feel like I’m 40. I have a mother and siblings that I’m concerned about. Every year I seend them a subtle reminder that they ignore but I think I’m making inroads. My father died at age 58 from lack of exercise. Yeah, they called it emphasyma, but he would agree it was lack of exercise.

Perhaps someone who is on the fence about training will read this and it might make a difference to them.

Stu

[quote]Yo Momma wrote:
Hey, thanks for sharing ;^)

I wouldn’t want to be caught short with my telomeres hanging out.

PS Jillybop says you have the sexiest voice ever
[/quote]

Hi YM, good to “see” you again. Hope you’re fully recovered from your ordeal. Haven’t been around for a few months, so I’ve no idea what’s going on around here.

Please tell Jillybop to stop spreading rumours about me…or else my wife will kick her arse! :slight_smile: (That’s me smiling, not my wife.)

[quote]Miserere wrote:
HappyDog, not preaching, just sharing :slight_smile:

Clearly, we’re all here (at T-Nation) for a reason, and it’s not to waste away like forgotten cucumbers at the back of the fridge.

I just think it’s great that they’re finding actual physiological evidence that a lack of physical activity will make your body degrade faster.[/quote]

When it comes to my telomere, I’m all for lengthening it. Seriously, thanks for passing this on. Stuff like this helps to motivate me towards racking up my 199 minutes of physical activity a week.

You’re welcome, LT. And maybe this will motivate you to go for the big 200 mins a week, whad’ya think? :wink:

[quote]Miserere wrote:
You’re welcome, LT. And maybe this will motivate you to go for the big 200 mins a week, whad’ya think? ;-)[/quote]

What? I thought 199 was the magic number. Typical European; more is better…

Actually, I’ve been doing two-a-day which should put me up around 300 mins a week.

Well isn’t that good news. Interestingly enough my last physical came out very good. My doctor tells me I am the healthiest patient of any age in her practice and all of my vitals are normal for someone who is in their early to mid 20’s. I’m 47. I’ve trained hard for a good 30 years too.

Just bolsters my resolve to take up breakdancing on my 65th b-day!

– jj

[quote]jj-dude wrote:
Well isn’t that good news. Interestingly enough my last physical came out very good. My doctor tells me I am the healthiest patient of any age in her practice and all of my vitals are normal for someone who is in their early to mid 20’s. I’m 47. I’ve trained hard for a good 30 years too.

Just bolsters my resolve to take up breakdancing on my 65th b-day!

– jj[/quote]

Good job. Have you changed the way you train as you’ve gotten older?

So that’s why I look so good at fifty. That will get me back up to 90 minutes a day. I love this shit we do. Great thread thanks Miserere.