Yoga, Pilates, and strength training are all beneficial forms of exercise; however, a new study points out that good old aerobics can delay the aging process.
Jump On It!
With each decade, it seems that a new version of physical movement becomes all the rage. And with that, comes a deluge of media hype purporting the exercise’s superior advantage over others. Now we’ve got hybrids of ballet and yoga, swimming and Pilates, and strength training in circuits. And they’re all great!
Alternately, as research has recently reported, endurance training not only strengthens your heart but also blocks DNA from wear and tear. Jogging, cycling, and jumping rope have returned as your good friends. Aerobic exercise may very well slow down our aging process.
The Scientific Stuff
We have chromosomes. Packed inside each chromosome is DNA.
Our cells continuously divide and reproduce. To live a long, healthy life, we need to keep our cellular structure intact and active.
One thing that assists in protecting DNA is a thing called a telomere. A telomere is a cap that safeguards each strand of our DNA. As we age, the telomeres shorten, leaving portions of our DNA strands at risk. This causes deterioration to our cells. Eventually, cells become so weak they no longer can divide and reproduce. That’s, unfortunately, when we die.
So, let’s keep the telomeres long so they can keep protecting, and we can live longer!
The Aerobics Element
A recent study out of Belgium discovered that aerobics stimulates telomeres to grow in length. Blood samples and muscle biopsies were taken from participants in the study. Their task was endurance training. They began with 45 minutes cycling on a stationary bike. The researchers found increased levels of a particular enzyme. That enzyme prompts telomeres to lengthen.
The scientific truth points to—aerobics help telomeres grow. Some scientists, however, believe that some people are simply born with longer telomeres than others. That places them (if they live healthily) in a natural position to live longer based on their genetic predisposition.
A CEO of a fresh biotech firm believes in gene therapy. The company has experimented with lengthening telomeres in mice, and it’s been successful. The CEO places so much trust in gene therapy and her company’s experimentation that she, herself, has received doses. In the fall of 2015, she received “a dose of viruses containing genetic material to produce telomerase.” Telomerase is the protein that lengthens telomeres. She is the first (and only, so far) human patient to test the dose.
So for the time being, if we want to protect our cells, instead of gene therapy, we can exercise! Sweatin’ to the Oldies, Jazzercise, and other trusty forms of endurance training may come back into vogue. If those aren’t your style, what type of aerobic fun will you choose?
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