Ever in search of a solution to the universal downer that is aging, scientists have discovered that regular exercise can help delay the process on a cellular level, and may even add substantial years to your life expectancy.
If ever you needed an incentive to sign up for that 5k, this is it. A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined the DNA of 6,000 adults, noting the length of their telomeres—the protective caps on the end of DNA strands that tend to fray and shrink with age.
They discovered that those who fell into the top tier of exercisers—jogging for 30–40 minutes, five days per week—had significantly longer telomeres than their peers who were inactive or worked out moderately. Given that telomere length is affected by factors like inflammation and oxidative stress—two things exercise can combat—the results are not entirely surprising.
“We all know people who seem younger than their actual age,” Larry Tucker, professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University, told Time. “We know exercise can help with that, and now we know that part of that may be because of its effect on our telomeres.”
The life-preserving benefits of running are also supported by another headline-commanding paper, released last month. Researchers from Iowa State University looked at cumulative data from multiple studies from the last three years and concluded that one hour of running could add seven-hours to a person’s life. A substantial return on investment.
Even when they looked at individuals who smoked, drank or were overweight—and irregardless of their milage or pace—running fairly regularly had profound benefits on lifespan. It’s a scientifically proven fact—lace up and live longer.