DNA, the chains of molecules that design who and maybe what we are, is the question. The answer is, we’re still trying to decipher it all.
One thing we do know is that their ends – telomeres – act like the tips of your shoestrings in that they take the brunt of daily wear so as not to fray the strings themselves.
As we age, these telomeres get shorter and shorter until…well, let’s just leave it at that.
But this study of 582 older Portugese (avg age – 73) has found a correlation between activity and telomere integrity that should give you one more big reason to adopt or at least continue your physically active lifestyle. In fact, other studies already have shown that unhealthy diets lead to shorter telomeres and earlier death by heart disease.
Lessons from Aging Chromosomes
The conclusion here is pretty firm: “At the start of the study, the participants who were more physically fit and who reported doing more walking had longer telomeres. Over time [a 5 year study period], everyone’s telomeres got shorter, but the participants who started exercising more saw a benefit. The more physical activity they added, the less their telomeres shrank.”
And the message is firmer still: