Tuesday, June 1, 2010

15-min daily exercise may slow cell aging: Study

WASHINGTON: Just 15 minutes of daily vigorous physical activity can help one stay young, finds a novel research.
The study points out that short bouts of daily vigorous workout thrice per week, not only make one feel better and relaxed but also improves the body's ability to fight off diseases and stress-induced cellular ageing, reported Qatar News Agency (QNA).
The study was published in the May 26 online issue of PLoS ONE.
Findings of the study suggest that regular physical activity can prevent the deterioration of vital cells, better known as telomere shorteninga known indicator of cellular ageing.
Telomeres are tiny 'caps' on the ends of chromosomes which protect against inflammation and other ageing processes, reported the news agency citing the study.
To come up with this finding, a research team from the University of California looked at 62 post-menopausal women, many of whom were highly stressed caregivers of spouses or parents with dementia.
For the study, the women were divided into active and inactive groups based on their exercise levels.
Participants in the inactive group had higher stress levels and shorter telomere length compared to their healthy counterparts.
To arrive at better results, the participants were asked to report how much time they spent on daily physical activity as well as their stress levels.
Their blood samples were also taken to measure the effect of physical activity on the telomere length.
On analysis, the researchers found that women who had engaged themselves in vigorous physical activity for at least 15 minutes a day, 42 minutes in a week's time had longer telomeres compared to their counterparts who underwent physical activity for shorter time periods.
The researchers concluded that 15 minutes of daily physical activity appears to provide a critical protection for the telomeres.
They also found that higher stress levels promote immune cell ageing by shortening telomere length.
However, even the highly stressed individuals can stop this process through regular physical activity.
"Physical activity is so good for you and stress is bad for you, but the new study shows the stress-buffering effects of physical activity in those who are chronically stressed," study author Eli Puterman, PhD, a health psychologist at the University of California at San Francisco was quoted by WebMD as saying.
"People know stress is bad for the heart and makes you look tired and haggard and makes us more vulnerable to infections," Puterman said.
"And there is so much accumulating evidence that links stress to health, so to show that there is something we can do when we are stressed that can delay or buffer the impact is exciting." - Bernama

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