Research about exercise and aging is confusing; so many of us would prefer to find immortality in a bottle than hard work, that any studies disproving the theory that weight lifting and running can keep you young are blown way out of proportion. Despite overwhelming evidence that exercise can have a “Benjamin Button Effect,” scientists who differ can easily justify our desire to stay home fro the gym, and get more than their due share of time in the spotlight as a result. So to set the record straight, Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky of McCaster University in Ontario just published a remarkable study proving that exercise can keep you young.
Tarnoposky’s study, published last week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, tracked the effect of exercise on aging in mice with a genetic mutation that causes rapid aging. (The mice all had deficient mitochondrial repair mechanisms; mitochondria are responsible for creating energy within cells, and their failure to function and regenerate correctly is a big part of why we age, according to many scientists.) The mice who didn’t exercise were all dead before they reached one year in age; at just eight months, they had enlarged hearts, weak muscles, shrunken brains and gonads, and grey hair.
But mice who were permitted to run on a wheel for 45 minutes three times per week (sure makes the gym sound better, doesn’t it?) remained young. In contrast with the other mice, they had full, dark hair (no grey), they maintained most of their muscle mass, and their organs (heart, gonads, brain) were normal; not shriveled or shrunken like the other mice. And despite having the same genetic mutation, they had more mitochondria than the other mice.
So before you throw any more money at face creams, botox, and anti-aging vitamins, make sure you’re doing one of the best, cheapest things for your body. Exercise. Run, walk, go to the gym, lift some weights, do some yoga. And be sure to join our Take the Stairs In March Challenge. Because we can’t promise you’ll end up like Mr. Button, but the research says it loud and clear: Exercise can keep you young.
via New York Times