Exercise can fight ageing5th January 2010
Intensive exercise can prevent telomere shortening and thus lengthen the lifespan, according to a recent German study.
Telomeres are regions in people's DNA that shorten as people get older.
They protect a person's genome from becoming corrupted, although their protective effect eventually wears off when they run out.
Some scientists believe that finding ways to keep the telomere regions of DNA intact will allow them to halt or slow the ageing process entirely.
The research team used telomere measurements from 32 professional runners.
The subjects' average age was 20 years, and all of them ran about 73 kilometres a week.
To measure the way telomeres disappear over time, the researchers studied telomere measurements from middle-aged athletes who ran about 80 kilometres a week from their twenties onwards.
As a control, they matched groups of healthy, nonathletic subjects with both groups of athletic subjects.
The researchers found that the middle-aged athletes had much longer telomeres than the middle-aged control group.
They also found raised levels of telomerase, an enzyme protecting the telomeres of white blood cells in the subjects who exercised.
Lead author Ulrich Laufs, a Saarland University professor, said that the study provided direct evidence that physical exercise had an anti-ageing effect.
He said that the study showed that exercise activated telomerase, an important enzyme, and stabilised the telomere.
Kay-Tee Khaw, an ageing expert at the University of Cambridge, said that even moderate levels of physical activity were related to lower levels of many heart disease risk factors, as well as a lower risk of many chronic diseases associated with ageing.
Laufs said that his team's data improved the molecular understanding of the protective effects of exercise on the vessel wall and underlined the potency of physical training in reducing the impact of age-related diseases.
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Tuesday 5th January 2010 @ 21:40
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Title: Exercise can fight ageing
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 13622
Date Added: 5th Jan 2010