We all know that exercise is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. But, did you know that it can add years to your life? A recent study found mice that ran on a treadmill a couple times a week for five months staved off premature aging in almost every organ of their bodies. This study was published February 21, 2011, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This is one of the most powerful pieces of data ever published proving that exercise is indeed an anti-aging remedy.
In addition to anti-aging, exercise decreases your risk of getting a wide assortment of chronic illnesses. Here is a list of conditions that physical activity reduces your chance of getting (and how many people have them):
Physical Activity Reduces:
- Coronary Heart Disease (12.6 million)
- Obesity (50 million)
- High Blood Pressure (50 million)
- Heart Attack (1.1 million)
- Diabetes (17 million)
- Hip Fracture (300,000)
No one can stop aging but we can certainly slow it down and stay healthy and vital in our golden years. Research shows that many of the changes attributed to aging are actually caused in large part by disuse. An interesting study from Texas shows just how important exercise really is.
In 1966, five healthy twenty-year-old men volunteered for a research study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. All they had to do was spend three weeks of their summer vacation resting in bed. On completion of three weeks, the researchers tested the men before and after exercise and found devastating changes: faster-resting heart rates, higher systolic blood pressures, a drop in the heart’s maximum pumping capacity, a rise in body fat, and a decrease in muscle strength.
In this short period of time, these young men developed many physiologic characteristics of men twice their age. Luckily for these guys, the scientists then put them back on an exercise routine and not only did the deterioration brought on by bed rest reverse, but testing results were better than ever before for these men.
More Recent Studies
Recent studies have indicated that dysfunction of the mitochondria (the “powerhouse” of the cell) is a precursor to the loss of muscle mass and functional impairment commonly seen in the elderly. Exercise resulted in a reversal of the genetic profile back to levels similar to those seen in the younger adults. This suggests that exercise may actually undo the biologic aging process takes place in muscle cells. This exiting information is just another reason to get off the couch and get moving. Think of all the money to be saved on wrinkle cream and chiropractic care!
Motion is Life -Hippocrates, Greek physician, 460-377 BC