Research: Exercise Makes You Biologically Younger…

sian Blog, Research & Info

More Exercise = Cells Age Less

Linking up to my next blog article ‘Post Exercise Massage & DOMS’

‘If you don’t use it, you lose it’ – I am always encouraging clients to move, stretch & exercise where possible. This is because, from a muscular point of view, the fascia (connective tissue) as well as the muscles require a full range of movement. Not moving or stretching causes them to shorten – hence why everything seems to stiffen up after resting.

However, recent research has now found that exercise can play a part in keeping us biologically younger & less prone to disease. The study, run by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention & conducted by Professor Larry Tucker from Brigham Young University, involved nearly 6,000 adults over a number of years. The study adjusted for relevant factors such as gender, race, weight, smoking & alcohol consumption, although it could not take into account others such as emotional factors, stress levels & quality of sleep etc.

“Just because you’re 40, doesn’t mean you’re 40 years old biologically,” Tucker said. “We all know people that seem younger than their actual age. The more physically active we are, the less biological ageing takes place in our bodies.”

Physical Activity & Telomere Length

The length of the Telomeres – the ends of human chromosomes – can influence your health & lifespan

Participants recorded their intensity & exercise levels, whilst having their DNA examined – specifically the telomere, the protein cap on the ends of human chromosomes. Their length can indicate health & ageing factors – the longer the better, whilst shorter telomeres are linked to oxidative stress & inflammation, poor health & a shorter lifespan: “We know that, in general, people with shorter telomeres die sooner & are more likely to develop many of our chronic diseases,” says Tucker. “It’s not perfect, but it’s a very good index of biological ageing” This oxidative stress & inflammation can be reduced by exercise. People who exercised had telomeres that indicated a younger biological age, as much as 7 – 9 years younger – & intensity had a significant impact.

“Moderate exercise was still valuable & it had some benefit, but it was really those high levels of physical activity that made the real difference. While there’s no guarantee that people with longer telomeres will live longer, healthier lives, the odds may be in their favour” says Tucker.

Forms of Exercise

If you want to start exercising more then there are many options & I always advise clients to find something that they actually enjoy, as they are far more likely to stick to it as a pleasant habit rather than seeing it as an unpleasant chore. Below I have discussed only the methods which I have personal experience of & have found fit in well with a busy lifestyle. There is much to be said for HIIT (High Interval Intensity Training) which allows you to burn calories, reduce fat & build muscle with short routines that are easy to fit in at home. These intersperse high intensity exercise of the kind discussed here & periods of active recovery.


You might well want to look at classes, HIIT, resistance training or cardio workouts (I favour spinning personally as I enjoy the music) in the local gym, Hemel Hempstead boasts a number:

Personal Training

I can personally recommend:

Home Training

I use Max Workouts myself, but there are plenty around. It’s an online home training programme requiring only a pair of dumbbells, with alternating 5 minute warm-ups followed by either a 20 minute cardio or resistance training routine that evolves over 3 weekly periods & 4 different levels. Alternatively you can subscribe to the website for different daily workouts & lots of information on exercises for rehabilitation, warming-up, cooling down or focussing on certain areas.


Another favourite piece of advice that I give to my clients is to make good use of stretching to improve muscular use & flexibility. Again, you need no equipment except a yoga mat & there are many online routines such as:

  • Yoga With Adrienne who also has a Youtube site
  • My personal choice is an app called Asana Rebel. You can pay for extra routines & features but I choose the free 5 minute daily workouts. Even only 5 minutes a day can gradually make a real difference to what you can achieve.

Research Articles

and on a related theme:

Medical advice often changes with fashions, fads, research & beliefs, but two constants remain:
Eating fresh fruit & veg
Regular exercise & stretching
Following these two can not only improve your health but may also increase your lifespan