Study: Exercise Reverses Aging at Cell Level
Every day, it seems, there’s a new study espousing the benefits of exercise. Exercise helps you lose weight. Exercise makes you smarter. Exercise cures cancer. What’s next? Exercise makes you immortal?
Well, not quite. But a new study has found that exercise actually reverses the aging process at the cellular level.
The study, published this week in the online journal PLoS One, studied 25 people over 65 for six months. At the beginning of the study, they took biopsies of their thigh muscles. Then they put the group on a strength-training regiment that included two hour-long sessions in the gym per week for six months. At the end of the six months, they were biopsied again.
The muscle cells were compared to cells of a group of young people (average age 22). At the beginning of the study, the older people’s cells were significantly different genetically from the younger people’s. But at the end of six months, a third of the genes within the cells had undergone significant changes. The cells that changed were involved in the functioning of mitochondria, which process nutrients into energy. And sure enough, study participants reported having more energy.
“The genetic fingerprint [of the elderly participants] was reversed to that of younger people — not entirely, but enough to say that their genetic profile was more like that of young people than old people,” said Simon Melov, director of genomics at the Buck Institute in Novato, Calif.
We’ve heard it before, but we’ll let Mr. Melov say it again.
“It’s never too late to start exercising.”