German Study takes Anti-Aging and Exercise to a Cellular Level
We all know that exercise is great for our health and can help us feel young again. But can exercise really
make us look young too? In the past couple years, there have been increasingly positive anti-aging studies
that show leading an active lifestyle will actually prolong the life and vitality of your cells.
The anti-aging and exercise studies really took off in 2009. That is the year that three Americans won the
Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of telomeres. These are the small tops on the ends of DNA. When a
cell divides during replication, telomeres are shortened. With this information, German scientists in 2010
were able to conduct a revolutionary study about anti-aging and exercise.
The scientists in the anti-aging study got together groups of young and middle-age athletes as well as control
groups of less active young and middle-age people. Most of us won’t be surprised to hear that the middle-age
athletes appeared younger and had less wrinkles than the middle age control group. We don’t need an anti-aging
study to tell us that exercise improves our vitality and appearance.
During the anti-aging and exercise study, the scientists studied the telomeres of all the subjects. In the
youthful subjects, both from the athletic and inactive groups, the telomeres were of similar lengths. When the
scientists took a look at the middle age groups though, they found an important discovery for anti-aging: the
middle-aged athletes had much longer telomeres than the slothful subjects of the same age group.
Since the older group of subjects in the anti-aging study had undergone many more cell divisions than the
youthful subjects, it makes sense that their telomeres would be shorter. On average, the telomere lengths of
slothful middle-aged subjects were 40% shorter than those of youthful subjects. At 10% shorter, telomere
lengths of the middle-aged athletes were only slightly shorter than the youthful subjects. This discovery
implies that the cells of athletes age much slower.
We can conclude from this study that exercise has an anti-aging effect on a cellular level. Living an active
lifestyle can actually cause cells to live longer and reduce the amount of times that they must replicate.
Since wrinkles and signs of aging come from the breaking down of cells, any activity which causes cells to
live longer will also have an anti-aging effect on our appearance.
There are still a lot of questions to be answered about anti-aging and exercise. We still don’t know how
exercise can postpone the signs of aging and keep cells young. Also, some recent studies on mice show that
exercise might only cause anti-aging in some tissues. From the layman perspective, the fact that exercise is
crucial to anti-aging isn’t really surprising. However, this is the first time that we have ever really had
scientific proof to the fact. The middle-aged athletes in the German anti-aging study ran at least 50 miles
per week. While the studies of this study are important to the beauty-conscious world, most people aren’t
going to start running 50 anti-aging miles weekly to stave off the appearance of wrinkles, especially when
there are anti-aging creams available which don’t require any exercise!