Posted on Oct 03, 2018, 3 p.m.
Exercise has been shown in many studies to slow down aging process by supporting healthy organs, and it is suggested that effects of exercise can be observed on genetic levels.
Cells undergo multiple rounds of division in which DNA is replicated in order for each cell to have its own copy throughout a person’s lifespan. Each copy of DNA made is shorter that the last, to prevent losing important genetic information DNA housing chromosomes are capped with telomeres which sacrifice themselves in the shortening and protect ends of chromosomes from damage due to unnecessary interactions.
Telomeres are not known to code anything, but their shortening poses effects on health such as being linked to the aging process and development of disease. If a way can be found to avoid telomere shortening it is believed that then aging and diseases may possibly be prevented.
Exercises have been shown to help preserve telomere length by increasing NRF1 levels. Nuclear respiratory factor 1 functions by recruiting enzyme telomerase to the telomeres which has the ability to reduce shortening of the telomeres, but only a small number of cells are able to produce it. Each session of exercise was observed to replenish NRF1 concentration and effectively slow the aging process; meaning that it is necessary to exercise regularly for there to be significant improvements on the aging process.
University of California researchers have shown that other lifestyle changes can reduce telomere shortening along side of exercise including reducing stress through yoga, stretching, meditation, following a plant based diet as much as possible, and participation in social support groups. Incorporation of more of the recommended changes was observed to lead to drastic improvements on telomere length. It was noted that subjects who did not exercise or undergo any lifestyle changes were observed to have had 3% telomere shortening. Results show that exercise does more than improve muscular condition it also promotes better health at the genetic level.
Exercise has been proven to do more than help reduce telomere shortening, it affords a wealth of benefits including: boosting moods by increasing production of feel good endorphins; increasing energy levels; improving skin health by promoting antioxidant production and increasing blood flow; and protecting brain health by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain, and promoting growth of the hippocampus. Most adults can have great benefits from regular exercise as it helps to counter the effects of brain aging, and all over health in general.
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