Everyone is looking for the fountain of youth, right? Well, you might need to look no farther than your feet!
A study recently published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine reports that standing helps to protect the DNA that in turn protects you from negative effects of aging.
The researchers studied 49 adults in their late 60s who were overweight and sedentary. They discovered that participants who sat the most had shorter telomeres.
What the heck are telomeres? They are the storage unit on the end of each chromosome. They have been likened to the plastic ring at the end of a shoelace. Telomeres help to keep chromosomes from fraying and causing havoc in the body. Short telomeres do not protect the DNA as well and can contribute to premature aging and death, disability, and disease. Participants who stood more had longer telomeres and were better protected from the effects of aging.
Although half of the participants took part in an exercise program as part of the study, the exercise level of the participants was not the most important factor in the length of the telomeres. Instead, sitting was the key factor.
This study reinforces an earlier study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. That one examined what habits lead to disability in people in the 60s. The study concluded that people who sat the most were more likely to develop a disability, even when controlling for health and exercise habits. In fact for each hour of sitting, the odds of having difficulty accomplishing daily activities rose by 46%. Just as in the recent study cited above, exercise did not diminish this risk.
Our bodies were built to be active and moving. The more you move, the better your chances of living long and comfortably.