We all know getting a good amount of physical activity into your daily lifestyle is the best thing you can do to keep your body performing the way it was meant to. After all, history provides the necessary facts that man is supposed to work for his food and habitat. Today, naturally, we have advanced to the state in man’s evolution that we no longer need to scavenge, hunt, grow or just plain seek out our daily nourishment. Back in the day, it was not unusual for a person to go a few days without having anything to eat because nothing crossed their paths that they could capture and put it into the group food pot.
Naturally, we can thank our evolvement into the societies that we have today that at least in this country and most others, we have abundant sources of food. But with that evolvement, came the complications that come with living maybe a too easy lifestyle. We’ve gotten fat and lazy.
Well, it’s a known fact that those of us who have decided to change their bodies, getting in better shape by exercising and becoming more physical, can not only see their bodies getting leaner and stronger, but we can now affirm that by doing this you can actually live longer.
Not just because of the benefits you are now enjoying with providing your body with the components of living a healthy life. But there was a study done a few years ago that people that exert themselves with exercise on a regular basis, like runners seem to stop the Telomere length of their chromosomes from shrinking or disappearing. It’s explained like this: Every time your cells replicate, they lose a bit of this protective cap, until the telomeres get so short that the cell can’t replicate properly anymore, which is why telomere length is considered one of the markers of biological age.
The good news is that, starting in around 2010, a series of studies has suggested that endurance exercise preserves telomere length as you get older. For example, a study of endurance runners found that their telomeres were 11 percent longer, corresponding to a 16-year decrease in biological age, than non-running controls. How does that sound to you?
But how much endurance running/exercise do you need to do to stave off the hands of time, or at least slow them down a bit?
Researcher Larry Tucker, of Brigham Young University, published 3 studies on the matter, one of which was submitted earlier this year. Tucker analyzed data from almost 6,000 adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, comparing their telomere lengths (as determined during a DNA test) and their self-reported physical activity patterns. Those who exercised did indeed have longer telomeres—but only in the group that exercised the most!
The high-physical-activity group’s cells appear almost nine years younger than the sedentary group’s cells, after adjusting for differences in demographics and lifestyle.
They found that there’s no significant difference in telomere length between the sedentary, low-physical-activity, and moderate-physical groups. To get the benefits, you need to be in the highest third kind of activity. What does that correspond to? Based on the study, Tucker pegs the threshold at around 30 minutes of jogging five days a week for women, and 40 minutes five days a week for men.
Naturally, according to the research provided, they are looking at a good paced run or endurance walk. To keep you on track with the right pace necessary to maintain this new exercise endeavor, a good thing to have with you every step of the way is an accurate Activity Monitor. One that can keep track of your pace, distance and also your heart rate to make sure you are pushing your limits and still performing within a safe limit. One that we like is the Garmin Vivosmart HR+GPS
. It not only does all of the above but with it’s GPS capability, you can now get off the beaten paths and make your own trails up the slopes and up and down the valleys and hills to push yourself and not worry about where you end up once you hit those newly found trails.
Another choice that meets with the staff’s high ranking is the Garmin Forerunner 920 XT Multisport GPS Watch
Since your going the distance and pushing yourself to the MAX then this sports watch can do everything including measuring your VO2 Max, running dynamics and live tracking. Which keeps track and measures your maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense, or maximal exercise. It is measured as milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight.
Along with this research, nutrition consumption was also looked at and it was found that, looking at consumption of nuts and seeds. More is better: Those who consumed about 3 percent of their total energy intake in the form and nuts and seeds were one-year “younger” by telomere length.
And he published a further analysis in Nutrition & Metabolism, this one on the effects of caffeine and coffee. In this case, the results are a little trickier to parse. The short version: Caffeine makes your telomeres shorter (which is bad) but coffee makes them longer (which is good).
There’s previous evidence that caffeine may interfere with DNA repair, which disrupts chromosomes. On the other hand, coffee itself (even decaffeinated) has anti-inflammatory properties that could be beneficial. So which effect wins? That depends on various factors, like how strong your coffee is. But if you keep in mind the advice you’ve heard time and time again, that anything in moderation is ok for you to eat. You can just about live by this statement and enjoy a healthy diet if you keep everything in balance! Naturally, this depends a lot on how you are health-wise, which as you know, before increasing any physical activity or beginning a new nutrition based eating habit, it's best to see your physician and a nutritionist.
In the end, telomere research, though it earned a Nobel Prize in 2009, is still a relatively young field. There’s a long way to go before we can be confident about what telomere length really tells us and how to change or protect it. But for now, it appears that running is a good place to start.
So to end with a phrase made popular years ago, from my favorite sci-fi movie series.
Live long and Prosper,,,, And You can, if, you dial UP your exercise routine a couple of notches!