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Regular jogging or running could help to keep cells younger and healthier

26-Oct-2023

A recent study by researchers from the Department of Exercise Sciences at Brigham Young University, USA, has revealed that regular jogging or running could be the key to slowing down biological ageing. The study explored the relationship between time spent jogging or running each week and leukocyte telomere length (LTL) in 4458 randomly selected U.S. adults.

Telomeres, the end caps of chromosomes, act as a biological clock. They protect our genetic material during cellular replication and division, but shorten with each cycle. Shorter telomeres are associated with older age and increased risk of age-related diseases. Therefore, preserving telomere length is a valuable area of research for those seeking to extend both the quantity and quality of life.

The study found that adults who met the U.S. guidelines for physical activity through jogging and/or running had significantly longer telomeres than adults who performed no jogging/running. Specifically, a minimum of 75 minutes of jogging/running weekly is predictive of longer telomeres when compared to adults who do not jog or run regularly.

The researchers controlled for a number of key demographic and lifestyle/medical factors that were most likely to influence the relationship, including age, sex, race, income, BMI, diabetes status, smoking pack years, cardiovascular disease (CVD) status, and time spent participating in physical activities other than jogging or running.

The findings suggest that regular jogging or running could slow down the biological ageing process. The difference in telomere length between those who did not jog or run and those who met the U.S. guidelines for vigorous activity through jogging or running accounted for a biological age difference of approximately 12 years in favour of the runners.

This research supports the current U.S. vigorous activity guidelines and encourages engagement in an active lifestyle through regular jogging and running at least 75 minutes per week. It also highlights the potential for physical activity to impact our biological age and overall health.

While more research is needed to better understand the mechanisms of this association and to more firmly establish a causal connection, these findings offer a promising insight into the potential of physical activity to slow down the biological ageing process.

The findings of the study are published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Jogging or running for at least 75 minutes per week linked to longer telomeres

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Brigham Young University (BYU)

Private research Mormon superschool in Provo, Utah

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Open source journal covering public health, environmental health and sciences.

Regular jogging or running could help to keep cells younger and healthier