Okay, not only is it cold outside, but it is dark when we wake up and getting dark when we get out of work. Not exactly the most conducive atmosphere for running.
I use the stair-stepper downstairs, but sometimes I get busy and decide that tomorrow will do just as well.
Then ANOTHER new study comes out showing the importance of exercise.
Not that I didn’t already know the benefits of exercise for decreasing stress levels and improving all sorts of physical health measurements.
But now telomeres are involved. What is a telomere?
You might remember that just last year, several scientists won a Nobel prize in medicine for the discovery of their function.
Telomeres reside at the end of chromosomes in order to protect them from deterioration. When cells replicate, telomeres are cut and become increasingly shorter. If the telomere becomes too short, it dies or at the very least becomes dormant.
Many researchers now use telomere length to determine cell age.
Two recent studies, out of the University of Colorado (Thomas LaRocca) and Germany (Christian Werner), measure the effects of long term exercise on telomere length, with some interesting results.
They found that young people, regardless of how active they were, have basically the same length of telomere.
The marked changes come only later when looking at middle-aged people (folks like me.)
Middle aged folks who were sedentary had telomeres that were about 40% shorter on average than young folks, even the sedentary young ones.
Those who maintained physical activity had not only higher aerobic capacities but also longer telomeres. Actually, their telomere lengths were only slightly shorter than that of youthful exercisers.
So next time you think of putting off your exercise regimen, think of your telomeres and improving the health of your cells. And improved cell health has so many implications for brain cells and their capacity for neuroplasticity.
For more on how we can harness the power of neuroplasticity, check out our brain science programs.
One of the things we can all do to improve brain function is to exercise. But there’s a lot more to it than that.