Exercise changes your DNA in ways that make you live longer

Telomeres are the repetitive sections at the end of each chromosome that have been associated with longevity.

Put simply, the longer the telomere, the longer the life.

New research investigated the effect of physical activity on telomere length, and - perhaps unsurprisingly - found a positive association with physical activity.

The paper,  Physical activity and telomere length in U.S. men and women: An NHANES investigation by Larry A. Tucker, was published in Preventive Medicine, Volume 100, July 2017, Pages 145–151, and provides good evidence that physical activity  accounts for differences in leukocyte telomere length (LTL) in a large random sample of U.S. adults.

And when I say large, I mean LARGE, with a total of 5823 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 1999–2002) studied cross-sectionally.

The difference in aging between the groups who exercised, and those who did not was also huge, adults with High activity were estimated to have a biologic aging advantage of 9 years over sedentary adults.

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The bottom line here is that adults who participate in high levels of PA tend to have longer telomeres, accounting for years of reduced cellular aging compared to their more sedentary counterparts.

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Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical