You have all heard the benefits of regular exercise. It will lower your blood pressure, strengthen your heart, and reduce stress in your life, but there is another great benefit. Exercise actually slows the aging process, preserving your youth right down to your DNA.
Slows Biological Aging
In one study conducted recently by Brigham Young University, researchers found that people who exercise regularly at a moderate to high intensity actually have longer telomeres in their DNA.
These telomeres are a string of DNA proteins that rest at the end of a chromosome. They provide a vital function to the body by protecting the chromosome from deteriorating.
When cells replicate or age, the telomeres tend to get shorter. Without these important proteins, the chromosomes would lose crucial information for the body’s function.
According to the study, however, people who exercise at high levels have a biological age of nine years younger than their inactive friends. Unfortunately for many who enjoy middle-grade activity, more moderate levels did not produce results as significant. Highly active people still slowed their body’s aging seven years more than moderately active people.
In order to receive the benefits of this anti-aging exercise, people should aim to participate in cardio exercise at least five days per week. Women need 30 minutes each day to get the best results, and men require 40 minutes. With a little hard work and dedication, you can certainly attain this fitness level, and you’ll reap the rewards in more ways than one.
Lengthens Your Lifespan
If you engage in this high-level exercise, what exactly might that mean for the actual aging process? Studies show that you’ll add years onto your life.
In one study, researchers gathered data using surveys from various health organizations, including the National Cancer Institute and Harvard University. With all of the participating surveys, the researchers were able to analyze health data from over 600,000 people.
To get their results, researchers compared the information given about each person’s exercise level, from inactive to highly active. Next, they scrutinized 14 years of death records among this group.
The researchers found that those who did not exercise at all had the highest rate of premature death. In addition, those who tried to exercise somewhat lowered this risk, but they still faced a higher rate of early demise than their active counterparts.
The groups who maintained a regularly active lifestyle earned the best results. In the group who attained a moderate exercise level of at least 150 minutes per week, people added an average 3.4 years onto their lifespans. If they doubled this minimum recommendation, they added 4.2 years onto their lives.
You should also note that these groups did not necessarily exercise at high levels, either. People who added just 30 percent of vigorous or strenuous exercise reduced their rate of premature death by 9 percent and 13 percent respectively. These studies show that you will gain much through regular, high-level exercise at least 5 days per week.
In addition to slowing the aging process through exercise, you also gain many immediate health benefits. It lowers your blood pressure while giving you a healthy channel to relieve stress.
It strengthens your heart and keeps your arteries clear, thus lowering risk of heart attack. Finally, it helps you control your weight and regulate your sleep at night. Exercise has undoubtedly proven its many health benefits that will improve your quality of life.
If you exercise on regular basis, you will literally preserve your DNA and add years onto your lifespan. At the same time, you will gain all the other known benefits to your health, such as lowering your risk of disease and improving sleep and stress. You simply need to get out there and get moving.
This article first appeared on AskDrManny.com.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.