Researchers have discovered evidence that endurance exercises, such as running, swimming, cross-country skiing and cycling, would help you age better than resistance exercises, which involve bodybuilding.
In a study published in the European Heart Journal Today, German researchers have studied the effects of three types of exercise (endurance training, high intensity interval training and resistance training) on the body. how cells age in the human body. They also found that endurance and high intensity workouts slowed or even reversed cellular aging, but not resistance training.
Our DNA is organized into chromosomes in all the cells of our body. At the end of each chromosome is a repetitive sequence of DNA, called telomere, that caps the chromosome and protects its ends from deterioration. As we age, telomeres shorten, which is an important molecular mechanism for cellular aging, which can eventually lead to cell death when telomeres are no longer able to protect chromosomal DNA. The process of shortening telomeres is regulated by several proteins. Among them, the telomerase enzyme is able to thwart the process of shortening and can even add length to the telomeres.
Researchers led by Professor Ulrich Laufs, of the University of Leipzig, Germany, recruited 266 healthy but previously inactive young volunteers and randomly assigned them in six months of endurance training (continuous running) , high intensity interval training (warm up, followed by four sessions). intensive training (circuit training on eight machines, including back extension, crunch, pulldown, seated rowing, bending of seated legs and extension, seated chest press and squeezed legs) or in a of life unchanged (control group).
Participants randomized to all three types of exercises completed three 45-minute sessions per week and 124 in total completed the study. The researchers analyzed telomere length and telomerase activity in white blood cells in the blood taken from volunteers at the start of the study and two to seven days after the last exercise session. , six months later.
"Our main finding is that, compared to the beginning of the study and control group, in volunteers with endurance training and high intensity, the activity of telomerase and telomere length increased, two important factors for cellular aging, regenerative ability and therefore, healthy aging.It is interesting, the resistance training did not exert these effects. "
The telomerase activity was multiplied by two or three and telomere length was significantly increased in endurance training and high intensity groups compared with resistance groups and control.
"The study identifies a mechanism by which endurance training – but not resistance training – improves healthy aging." It might be useful to design future studies on this important topic in the future. using telomere length as an indicator of "biological age" in future intervention studies, "said Prof. Laufs.
Dr. Christian Werner, of the University of Saarland, Germany, co-author of the study, said: "The study has several implications: Our data corroborate the current recommendations of the I & # 39; European Society of Cardiology, according to which resistance exercises should be complementary to endurance training rather than in. The data identify telomerase activity and telomere length as a sensitive means of to measure the effects of different forms of exercise at the cellular level.The use of these measures to guide individual training recommendations can improve both the monitoring and the effectiveness of physical training programs for the prevention of cardiovascular illnesses . "
Previous research has shown that longer telomeres and increased telomerase activity are associated with healthy aging. However, it is the first randomized, prospective controlled study of the effects of different forms of exercise on these two measures of cellular aging.
Professor Laufs said, "Physical exercise is widely recommended. However, prospective studies of controlled and randomized training are very rare because they require considerable effort and there is no source of funding from the industry. The number of participants in our study may seem small compared to a large drug. However, to our knowledge, this is the largest randomized study comparing well-defined training modalities with a control group and with a long duration of six months. We hope that our project will stimulate confirmation and further studies in this area. "
A possible mechanism that could explain why endurance and high intensity training could increase telomere length and the activity of telomerase is that these types of exercises affect the levels of Nitric oxide in the blood vessels, thus contributing to the modification of the cells.
"From an evolutionary point of view, endurance and high intensity workouts could better mimic the beneficial behavior of our ancestors in terms of travel and combat or flight training in force, "said Dr. Werner.
The limitations of the study include the fact that the number of participants is small, even though it is the largest study to date on a prospective and randomized basis; and the daily activities of participants outside of training sessions may have included elements of other forms of exercise, but this would be likely for all groups, including the control group.
Professors Konstantinos Stellos and Ioakim Spyridopoulos, of Newcastle University and the Freeman Hospital of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK, who did not participate in the research, write that it is not necessary. 39 has not been demonstrated until now that the role played by telomerase maintain telomere length is involved in the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, except perhaps in the insufficiency heart. On the contrary, it appears that an accelerated shortening of telomeres may be a sign of increased oxidative stress and a greater cell turnover, which coincides with a decrease in the number of cells. telomerase activity. However, telomerase leads to an increase in nitric oxide, a reduction in oxidative stress, a reduction in DNA damage to cells and a reduction in cell death, factors essential for delaying the development of the cell. fouling of arteries containing fatty deposits. They conclude that the results of the study of Dr. Werner and Pr Laufs "clearly emphasize the benefit of aerobic endurance training compared to resistance training in cardiovascular aging" .
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"Differential effects of endurance, interval and resistance workouts on telomerase activity and telomere length in a randomized controlled trial" by Christian Werner et al. European Heart Journal. DOI: 10.1093 / eurheartj / ehy585
"Exercise, Telomerase Activity and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease", by Konstantinos Stellos and Ioakim Spyridopoulos. European Heart Journal. DOI: 10.1093 / eurheartj / ehy707