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Go hard, stay young!

June 2, 2010

How vigorously do you exercise?

Are you one of those people who goes into the gym and spends more time looking around than working out hard?

If so, you’ll want to step it up a bit! Especially if you are dealing with chronic psychological stress.

Not sure that you are? Are you unemployed, financially stressed, caring for a parent or spouse with dementia or other health concerns, or constantly worrying about a child or sibling?

If so, this news is for YOU.

Unfortunately, many women who are dealing with chronic stress are also less likely to be exercising vigorously.

Hopefully that changes.  Here’s why.

Researchers from the University of California San Francisco found that vigorous exercise seems to mitigate psychological stress and, consequently, prevents telomeres from shortening

And that’s great news, since shortened telomeres are associated with accelerated aging.

And I’m not talking about wrinkles! 

Accelerated aging can lead to a range of health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes, and result in an early death. 

Telomeres…remind me again?

Telomeres are cap-like strands at the ends of your chromosomes. They are composed of DNA and proteins.

The longer the telomere, the more protected the chromosomes are and the slower you age.  

In the study, investigators looked at 62 post-menopausal women, many of whom were caregivers for parents or spouses with dementia.

They found that those women who performed 42 minutes of vigorous activity–defined as activity which either elevated their heart rates or induced sweating, or both–over a 3-day period were protected from the psychological stress that led to telomere shortening. 

So nice to know one more thing you can DO to help yourself stay sound in mind and body as the years pass!

So next time you’re dealing with issues and think you’ll excuse yourself from the gym or your jog…don’t!

You need the exercise more than ever!

Please read the school’s news release here. It provides an easily understood “take home” of the study results.

To read the research yourself, go here.

Flickr photo, richard.heeks.

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