Exercise really is the great ‘anti-ager’

Researchers from McMaster’s University incredibly discovered that endurance exercise is able to slow the aging process even though the experimental mouse subjects were genetically engineered to age faster than normal. 

The exercising mice continued to exhibit youthful appearance and vitality as well as demonstrate protection from aging of internal organs during a brisk treadmill exercise regime executed three times a week, lasting 45 minutes per session and sustained for five months. 

Researchers noted that the exercise provided nearly 100 percent protection against graying fur, hair loss, brain atrophy and other organ denigration. Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at McMaster’s DeGroote School of Medicine, noted that researchers were shocked at how dramatically tissues such as the spleen, liver, gonads, muscle and even the brain were enhanced by exercise. This effect was noted in every exercising mouse, and when compared with non-exercising mice they were healthy and more youthful in every parameter measured. 

Non-exercisers were noted to be more socially isolated, less fertile, balding and graying, as well as, of course, much less active.

The most notable anti-aging factor was seen in the mitochondria of the exercising mice. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells and actually make energy within each body cell. The exercisers’ mitochondria dramatically changed from “damaged” at the onset of the experiments to healthy and vital at the completion. The muscle tissue of the exercisers also showed excellent tone and healthy cellular and sub-cellular structures. 

Experts have long suspected that the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations over the lifespan leads to progressive decline in organ and tissue function, which we refer to as the aging process. Tarnopolsky notes that other studies with genetically engineered premature aging mice have included calorie restriction and various drug interventions to try to slow the aging progress down. The results of the exercising regime are by far the most promising.

Global health experts from WHO agree that to maintain good health and to avoid many of the issues that are attributed to old age, normal daily exercise should also be supplemented with 2.5 hours of weekly vigorous exercise. The amount of incidental exercise that we receive from moving around, doing chores, taking the stairs and so on has recently dwindled away in most people’s lives due to technology and a technology based lifestyle. We all need to make a conscious effort to include more action, vitality and movement in our lives. 

Some helpful ways to increase your incidental exercise is to park further away from your destination, take the stairs especially if there are only two or three flights, use a cordless phone and walk while you talk (certainly not hard to do these days), add in some more exertion into your walk-the-dog routine (it will be good for your furry friend too), put extra effort into sweeping, gardening or other chores by adding in lively music that keeps your pace up, and walk as much as you can, wherever you can, rather than driving short distances. 

These little tips will increase your health subtly but surely.

Nothing, of course, will replace a good intense (as you can) workout to keep you young and vital looking and feeling. The research is there, it is up to you to go for it. Of course, if you are unaccustomed to doing intense workouts, start slow and engage the services of a Certified Exercise Specialist in order to set you up on an exercise routine that will be safe and effective. 

 I look forward to seeing you healthy, young looking and fit!


Jane Riley, M.S., B.A., C.P.T., Certified Nutritional Adviser, can be reached at janerileyfitness@gmail.com, 212-1451 or www.janerileyfitness.com.


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