Scientists have stated that the best anti-aging technique may be standing up. This comes after the discovery that standing up protects DNA.
A study has shown that sitting down for long periods of time shortens the protective caps, called telomeres, at the end of chromosomes.
Shortened telomeres have been connected to disease, premature aging and early death. So it may be a good idea to spend less time on the sofa if you want to prevent DNA aging and live longer.
The research discovered that those who remained on their feet frequently had longer telomeres, which is responsible for preventing wear and tear on the genetic code.
It indicates that doing more exercise had no effect on the length of telomeres.
Karolinska University in Stockholm’s Professor Mai-Lis Hellenius, said that in many countries the rate of formal exercise has increased, but so has the amount of time spent sitting.
Hellenius said that there is huge concern that low physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sitting have become a new health hazard. It is believed that a reduction in the number of sitting hours is more important than an increase in exercise for older individuals.
Telomeres are important in stopping chromosomes from clumping together and fraying, thus ‘scrambling’ genetic code. Scientists have likened the function of telomeres to shoelaces and the plastic tips on the ends of it. They state that the lifespan of the shoelace is linked to its length.
The study involved 49 overweight sedentary adults aged late sixties. The length of the telomeres present in their blood cells was measured. Half of the participants had taken part in an exercise programme for six months, whilst the other half did not. Their physical activity levels were assessed by the use of a diary, as well as a pedometer to keep record of the amount of footsteps they took on a daily basis. The amount of time they spent sitting down was calculated by means of a questionnaire.
The study indicated that although those who did more exercise appeared to be healthier, the most critical factor was the amount of time they spent sitting down.
The scientists discovered that the less time spent sitting down, the longer the telomeres and the higher the chance of a longer life.
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