Are You Aging Yourself Faster?
When it comes to the aging process, you just might be your own worst enemy.
According to research published in Diabetes, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise may speed up the aging of senescent cells – leading to an acceleration of diseases and conditions normally seen in older age.
Researchers at the Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic were curious as to whether exercise could prevent the accumulation of premature senescent cells and metabolic dysfunction caused by the unhealthy nature of a fast-food diet.
So they tested their hypothesis on mice. One group consumed a “normal, healthy diet” and the other group was fed a “fast-food diet,” consisting of food that was high in saturated fat and cholesterol plus sugar-sweetened beverages.
Mice on the fast-food diet experienced unhealthy changes in body weight and composition. Their fat mass nearly tripled over a 4-month period. What’s worse, the majority of the fat accumulated in the midsection of the body, around the internal organs – a phenomenon already associated with a number of obesity-related diseases.
But when the same mice began to exercise, their health started to improve dramatically.
Half the mice, whether on healthy or unhealthy diets, had access to an exercise wheel. Both groups benefitted from exercise, but the exercising mice on the fast-food diet gained less body weight and fat mass than the fast-food consumers that did not exercise.
They were also less likely to develop those age-speeding senescent cells.
So the theory is, for mice or men (and women) – better to light a candle of healthier behavior than to curse the darkness of getting older.