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Health news: Is exercise really the key to longevity

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We’ve all heard of the benefits of exercise, but is it all hype or is there really something to getting off the couch and onto the treadmill? It turns out that there are actually science-based reasons to get active and stay active even as you age. Researchers from McMaster University in Canada confirm that exercising regularly slows the natural aging process and prevents early death from illnesses related to premature aging.

The study

The study conducted at McMaster University’s Degroote School of Medicine was done in mice that were genetically engineered to age faster. These defective mice were assigned to either an exercise group or a non-exercise group. The exercise group ran at a brisk pace for 45 minutes three times a week. After five months, researchers were astounded by the results. The exercisers experienced fewer symptoms of aging than the non-exercisers. They not only looked younger, but every tissue that was tested had gone from their original damaged state to a healthier and more vital state. By contrast, the sedentary group experienced more hair loss and graying, they were more socially isolated, and their muscle tissue was severely damaged.

The takeaway

What impressed scientists most is what occurred at the mitochondrial level in the cell tissue. The mice used in the study were bred with a genetic disposition that caused premature aging. But regular exercise actually changed the physiology of the cells from damaged to healthy. Lead author of the study and professor of pediatrics and medicine at McMaster University, Mark Tarnopolsky, says that the study results can and should be applied to human health.

Hopefully, these study results will be so compelling that they will cause people to take the prescription for regular exercise very seriously.

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