Endurance Training Associated With Longer Telomeres

Exercise correlates with all sorts of better measures of health, but there is some debate and conflicting evidence on whether more is better past the point of moderate regular exercise. This ties in to questions of causation - to what degree are endurance athletes drawn to their activities because they are already more robust than their peers, for example?

Telomeres are the molecular caps on chromosomes. They shorten with each successive cell division and are thus linked to aging. The shortening rate also varies among people. Shorter telomeres have been linked to increased disease risk as well as shortening of lifespan.

Chronic endurance training is at least modestly linked with long lifespan, though there are some controversies about whether it may increase the risk of some heart diseases. In the current study researchers sought to determine if chronic endurance training is associated with telomere length in older aged individuals. To perform the trial they measured the length of telomeres in four groups of individuals: young people and older people who did or did non engage in chronic endurance training. For the endurance training the researchers chose participation in a 58 km cross country ski competition.

They found that indeed the older people who were chronic endurance trainers had significantly longer telomeres than moderately active older controls. There was no difference in telomere length in the younger subjects whether they did endurance training or not. There was also an association in older people between VO2 max and telomere length.

Link: http://extremelongevity.net/2013/01/10/chronic-endurance-training-linked-to-longer-telomeres-in-older-adults/


Any work done on the effects of resistance training on telomere length?

Posted by: Louis at January 14th, 2013 5:53 AM

I am sorry, but this paper proves very little. The exercise enthusiasts had probably longer telomeres and better VO2 consumption than their contemporaries at age 20, 40 and now, when they are seniors. This is why they got into athletics.

One would have to randomize a group, balance it for smoking and other relevant factors, assign exercise or no-exercise lifestyles and THAN follow them for years.
Unfortunately, that's pretty hard to do.
Alex Modz

Posted by: Alex at January 14th, 2013 6:54 PM

Your right Alex. I would like to see them do this with a group of non exercisers then have one group perform endurance type training over the course of a couple of years and see if there is a benefit versus the non exercise group. Chronic exercisers versus non exercisers seems like apples and oranges.

Posted by: Paleo Nouveau at January 15th, 2013 7:26 PM

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