[Updated May 10, 2018]
Too much sitting and too little exercise may speed biological aging by as much as 8 years, suggests an American Journal of Epidemiology study. A group of 1,481 women (average age, 79) from a nationally-representative sample wore motion sensors for one week. The combination of being too sedentary and getting less than 30 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous exercise was associated with having white blood cells with significantly shorter telomeres. Telomeres are caps that protect the ends of DNA strands. They shorten with age, but factors such as exercise may affect the rate. “Having shortened telomere length is associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes and major cancers, as well as shorter life expectancy,” says Aladdin Shadyab, PhD, the study’s lead author at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily.
To Learn More: American Journal of Epidemiology, February 2017