Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Regular Exercise Can Delay Aging

So many people are searching for the fountain of youth. They want not only to look younger on the outside, but to feel younger as well, and live longer in good health. Perhaps they may need to look no farther than to their local gym, their living room or even the great outdoors; according to a new study, physical activity holds the key to delaying aging.

The study was performed using genetically modified mice who were designed to age rapidly with defective mitochondria, the cellular powerhouses. Half the mice were made to exercise regularly, while the other half were sedentary. The authors of the Canadian study from McMaster University, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, found that a lifetime of physical activity can slow the physical signs of aging through all tissues in the body; exercise had a systemic effect. While the sedentary mice started balding and going grey, the active mice did not, and they were also much less socially isolated.

According to Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at McMaster's DeGroote School of Medicine and the lead researcher in this study,"What really shocked us was the gonads, the spleen, liver -- every tissue we looked at was made better with the exercise. It has a systemic effect and even prevented a slight shrinkage of the brain,". Also surprising was the fact that the damaged mitochondrial DNA, a suggested cause of aging, was repaired in the mice who exercised. This was an unexpected and very promising discovery.

Now, even though these were mice in the study, we know enough about the effects of exercise on the human body that this should just be an added catalyst to get people moving. Tarnopolsky has this advice, "Get moving, get active and get your kids moving while they are young,".