Research on physical activity

February 7, 2008

People who exercise appear to be biologically younger than their sedentary counterparts, research suggests.

Physical activity has been shown to have a major impact on health: frequent exercisers display reduced cardiovascular risk and are at lower risk for type 2 diabetes, mellitus, cancer, hypertension, obesity and osteoporosis. But a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine by Tim Spector and Lynn Cherkas from the Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology Unit at King's College London, looked for evidence of ageing at a molecular level in the population by analysing telomeres, which cap the end of chromosomes in our cells and protect them from damage. Their findings suggest that a sedentary lifestyle may diminish life expectancy not only by predisposing people to age-related diseases but also because it may influence the ageing process itself.

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