How Exercise Keeps Us Young

Here is an excellent article about how scientists are beginning to understand the many microscopic changes that occur when we exercise.

Some of the interesting things that were discovered recently included:

  • Exercise impacts the way cells communicate with each other and the speed of aging

  • Exercise relates to the youthfulness of older people

  • Weight training has a significant role in our health and well-being

  • People who exercise on a regular basis live longer and have fewer diseases

  • People who work out for decades have aerobic fitness of 30 years their juniors

  • People (cyclists) have immune systems and muscles with size and fiber content that resemble those of much younger people

  • Strength training reduces the risk of experiencing or dying from a heart attack or stroke

  • Regular aerobic exercise reverses age-related stiffening of cardiac arteries

  • Lifting weights is related to avoiding depression

Several studies showed us that multiple, seemingly unrelated, bodily systems are involved during exercise and they communicate with each other. For example, during activity “bubbles” in the blood filled with genetic material travel to the liver, suggesting that it provides a signal for the liver to start releasing it’s stored glycogen into the blood stream for use by other organs.

Another study identified hundreds of different proteins in the bloodstreams of people who regularly exercise compared to sedentary people.

The impact of exercise at the chromosomal level can be seen with changes in telomeres of chromosomes in middle-aged people after 6 months of exercise - these changes, the lengthening of telomeres, suggesting the “youthening” of cells.

See original article in New York Times, 26 December 2018