Inactivity Speeds Aging Throughout Life
There has been considerable research about the adverse health effects of a sedentary lifestyle. We know that sitting for long periods every day and failing to get the recommended amounts of exercise are associated with an increased risk for a number of health problems in adults, including obesity, metabolic syndrome (increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels), cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Aging varies from person to person, and a new study shows that inactivity speeds up the aging process in older adults. Scientists have found that repetitive sections of DNA located at the end of chromosomes—called telomeres—are associated with aging, becoming shorter and shorter with age. For this recent study, researchers evaluated the link between telomere length and sedentary time in 1,481 older women with an average age of 79.
They found that women who were physically active for less than 40 minutes a day and were sedentary for more than 10 hours per day had biologically "older" cells—the equivalent of eight years older—than women who were more active. According to researchers, the benefits of exercise are lifelong.
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