Project Body Smart | Sedentary Lifestyles Accelerate Aging


Sedentary Lifestyles Accelerate Aging

A recent study has shown that cells age faster during a sedentary lifestyle. This may not be good news for sedentary people. Telomeres are the tiny caps located on the ends of DNA strands that protect them from fraying. We inherit telomeres from our parents, and regardless of the length of our telomeres at birth, everyone’s telomeres eventually shorten with age. Health status and unhealthy lifestyles are thought to accelerate the process, and scientific studies have shown a strong association between the length of telomeres and the cellular aging process. Recently researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that mature women who sit for more than 10 hours a day and have a low physical activity level (less than 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity a day) had cells that were biologically older by eight years compared to less sedentary women. It is important to note that this study only looked at the women’s activity levels and telomeres at one point in time. It isn’t known whether activity levels or sitting causes telomeres to shorten and it isn’t clear if these results apply to men and younger people. However it’s difficult to argue that most of us would benefit from spending less time sitting down. Maybe it’s time to consider renewing that gym membership!

National Library of Medicine

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