Ageing faster? Blame on passive lifestyle

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London, Jan 30: No anti-ageing, wrinkle-free cream can prevent those couch potatoes, who while away time in food and entertainment, from ageing faster.

According to new research, physical inactivity diminished life expectancy not only by predisposing to age-related diseases but by influencing the ageing process itself. On the other hand, physically active people remained biologically younger than those following sedentary lifestyles. The report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine studied physical activity level, smoking habits and socio economic status of 2,401 twins and revealed that regular exercisers had lower rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity and osteoporosis after studying.

The DNA of the twins helped in examining the length of telomeres--repeated sequences at the end of chromosomes--in the white blood cells (leukocytes). Leukocyte telomeres progressively shortened over time and served as a marker of biological age.

The study stated that less physically active people had shorter leukocyte telomeres than the active ones. Oxidative stress--damage caused to cells by exposure to oxygen--and inflammation were other mechanisms by which sedentary lifestyles shortened telomeres.

Physical activity, however, reduced psychological stress mitigating its effect on telomeres and the aging process.

This conclusion could be used by clinicians to promote the potential anti-aging effect of regular exercise, lead researcher Lynn F Cherkas said.


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