Want to Lessen the Effects of Aging? Work on Your Endurance

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A study published in the European Heart Journal suggests that endurance exercises like running, bicycling, swimming, and cross-country skiing can help reduce the effects of aging compared to resistance exercises like weight training. This study was conducted by researchers at Leipzig University in Germany.

Two-hundred-sixty-six healthy men and women who were previously inactive were randomized to four groups for six months. One group participated in endurance training (a running program); a second group in high-intensity interval training (a warm-up, high intensity running alternating with slower running, and a final cool down of slower running); a third group in resistance training (circuit training on eight different weight machines); and a fourth group served as the control group. A total of 124 volunteers completed the study.

The researchers measured the effects of exercise on aging by analyzing telomere length and telomerase activity in blood samples obtained at the start and the end of the study. Telomeres are stretches of DNA at the end of chromosomes that shorten in response to aging. According to the German researchers, telomerase activity was two- to three-times higher, and telomere length was significantly increased, in the endurance and high-intensity training groups compared to the resistance training and control groups.

Sourced from: European Heart Journal