A new study has shown, through molecular science, proof that exercise keeps you young. Exercise helping you live longer hasn't exactly been a secret and the millions of people worldwide that pour sweat at gyms weekly testify to that help. But now, scientific evidence for the age fighting power of exercise has been found at a molecular level.
Investigators have been measuring the length of "telomeres", which are the DNA on either end of thread like chromosomes. As it was described in the article, these telomeres act in a similar way as the plastic tips on the end of your shoelaces. Just as those little plastic wraps prevent the shoe lace from unraveling, telomeres protect the chromosomes that carry genes during cell division.
Every time your cells divide during replication telomeres inevitably get shorter. When a telomere is too short, the cell can no longer replicate and then dies. Scientists believe that telomere length, and specifically health, is directly linked to aging. Having shorter telomeres puts an individual at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
There was very interesting data however, when scientists studied telomere length between groups of exercising animals and humans versus sedentary populations. Specifically, a population of middle aged adults who ran 50 miles a week or more hand longer telomeres then a healthy population of similar age that didn't exercise.
Many scientists now believe that exercise, rather then a persons inherited gene background, could be the most important factor that keeps an individual healthy and young. Through the study it was observed that those individuals that exercised the most had a similar telomere length to people that were 10 years younger and didn't exercise. Other studies showed that as little as 2 hours of exercise a week showed a significant difference in telomere length between twins.