What if we told you that one of the best ways to fight aging is standing up? That sitting less, and standing more, can be more effective in reducing aging than exercising? That’s exactly what was reported by a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
To improve your health, and fight aging, become more conscious of the amount of time you spend sitting. This one easy change can help your DNA and maybe extend your lifespan.
How Do Telomeres Keep My DNA Intact & Impact Aging
Scientists have known about telomeres, the protective caps at the end of each strand of DNA, since the 1930’s. Telomeres function is often described as visualizing how the plastic tips at the end of a shoelace prevent it from fraying. These telomere caps keep your chromosomes from clumping together and scrambling the genetic codes they contain.
DNA makes up our cells and each time our cells replenish by copying themselves, the telomeres get shorter even though our DNA stays intact. But once the telomeres become too short, they cannot work as effectively and our cells begin to age. Short telomeres have been linked to premature aging, diseases such as forms of cancer, vascular dementia, diabetes etc.
What Researchers Examined
Professor Mai-Lis Hellenius, Professor at the Karolinska Institutet, expressed concern that exercise alone did not impact telomere length and that the increasing amount of time people spent sitting was more of a risk, and especially for the elderly.
Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet, and the universities in Uppsala and Umea, Sweden, performed a study of 49 overweight, sedentary adults in their late sixties, which focused on measuring the length of the telomeres in their blood cells. Their intent was to determine if exercise had any impact on the length of the telomeres, hence the aging process.
- Half of the group of subjects participated in an exercise program for six months. The other group did not.
- Each group maintained an exercise journal, a pedometer, and completed questionnaires.
- Physical activity levels were assessed, such as the number of steps per day, as well as the amount of time sitting.
The Results Are In
This study, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, confirmed that people who exercised more were usually healthier, but, more important factor, was the amount of time spent sitting. Increases in physical activity seemed to have less of an impact on telomere lengthening than reducing the time spent sitting.
Research has shown that spending more than 6-7 hours a day in sedentary behaviors results in health risks. But scientists also determined that people who spent less time sitting had longer telomeres, and thus reduced their effects of aging which occurs as telomeres shorten.
Therefore, less time spent sitting resulted in longer telomeres and a greater chance of extending your lifespan.
Tip: Other Factors That Shorten Telomeres, and Increase the Aging Process Include:
- Lack of Exercise
- Poor Diet
Stand Up and Slow Down Aging
Often elderly have difficulties performing exercise so it’s heartening to know that by incorporating more time standing, and less time sitting, that they can enjoy the positive benefits to knowing this one, simple, modification to their lifestyle can help with anti-aging.
Spend less time sitting and slow down the clock on your aging DNA!