Recently, we wrote about telomeres and the science of anti-aging. We explained that he leading theory of aging is the telomere shortening theory. Telomeres (Greek for the part at the end) are protective DNA and protein complexes that cap the end of chromosomes and help them to remain stable. But each time a cell replicates, the telomere gets shorter until the cell finally dies. So, telomeres are like shortening timelines that measure cellular age. Free radical damage also shortens telomeres. Telomere shortening weakens proper replication of DNA, which results in cellular aging. Telomere shortness is a marker of aging, disease and premature death. So, preserving the length of your telomeres is the key to longevity.

In that blog, we looked at the science of vitamin D and protecting against aging by preserving telomere length. In this blog, we’ll look at exercise and preserving telomeres. . . .



The new study included 6,503 people between the ages of 20 and 84. A survey asked them whether, over the last month, they had engaged in:

1. Moderate intensity physical activity
2. Vigorous intensity physical activity
3. Walking or bike riding for transportation
4. Muscle strengthening activities

Researchers compared the results of the survey with telomere length. They found that the people who did all four kinds of exercise had a significant 52% lower risk of being in the group with the shortest telomeres compared to people who didn’t exercise at all.

But, it wasn’t all or nothing: there was a 3% lower risk of having the shortest telomeres for people who engaged in one of the types of exercise, a 24% lower risk for those who did two types of exercise and a 29% lower risk for people who did three. The benefits of two and three types of exercise are significant.


Med Sci Sports Exerc 2015;47(11):2347-52


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