Considering Exercise as a Means to Slow the Progression of Aging

It is well known that regular exercise can slow the progression of many age-related declines, and reduce mortality risk in late life. Different forms of exercise, such aerobic exercise versus strength training, appear to produce different, overlapping benefits. This is concretely demonstrated in animal models, while the human epidemiological data, which can only show correlations, is supportive of the thesis that exercise produces changes in metabolism that modestly slow the onset of age-related declines.

Exercise is a lifestyle intervention with known antiaging effects capable of counteracting several of the hallmarks of aging including senescence and age-associated inflammation. We propose that 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) can orchestrate many of the antiaging effects of exercise through its regulation of diverse cellular pathways in the setting of energetic stress.

Activating AMPK is sufficient to extend lifespan in many organisms. It is naturally activated in response to muscle contraction and nutrient depletion, both of which are components of exercise. Whereas most of the studies supporting AMPK as an antiaging strategy are based in animal models, the use of metformin (an AMPK activator) in clinical trials (TAME) as an antiaging drug is based on its capacity to delay heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline, and death in people with diabetes. These results suggest that the antiaging effects of AMPK are also relevant in humans, but the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects remain to be determined.

A landmark 21-year longitudinal study that followed runners and compared them with a sedentary group, found that those who exercise had a significantly lower risk of dying (15%) during that time frame than the sedentary group (34%) while also having reduced disabilities. It is unclear whether the beneficial effects of exercise in this study were due to a delay in secondary aging or to countering of the effects of sedentarism. Regardless of this limitation, numerous studies have shown that maintaining a minimum quantity and quality of exercise improves cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle function, flexibility, and balance.

Current guidelines recommend a minimum of 150 min/week of moderate intensity aerobic activity for maximum longevity benefits, with higher duration and intensity increasing cardiovascular and metabolic effects. It has been estimated that performing three to five times the recommended physical activity (450-750 min/week) reaches the maximal healthspan benefit that can be achieved with endurance exercise. Strength training should be added to minimize loss of muscle mass that is characteristic of aging and disease.

In summary, exercise is an effective strategy to prevent aging and enhance longevity and health span both on a clinical and a cellular level due to its capacity to modulate all nine hallmarks of aging. Additionally muscle, one of the main systemic effectors of exercise, is recognized as an endocrine organ that produces and releases myokines, implying a complex cross talk between muscles and other tissues. The AMPK pathway, a well-known mediator of exercise effects in muscle could be activated in different tissues and drive many of the health-promoting and lifespan-extending capabilities of exercise. We propose that it is a central effector node able to impact the hallmarks of aging and integrate the effects of exercise on many tissues.

Link: https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.203051

Comments

Has anyone looked at the ((anti) aging) effect of using Creatine?
I find my training much enhanced with it.

Posted by: Robert Read at June 4th, 2021 7:55 AM

I can't help but wonder if the additional free radicals caused by increased and less efficient metabolism isn't causing damage. And it is less efficient starting slowing at about 20 minutes in, and becoming impossible to maintain at about 2 hours. So I load up on anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant supplements every day.

So I'm on the treadmill yesterday at Planet Fitness, incline 3 (better for my knees), 3.3 MPH, 45 minutes in. My heart rate (which is 55 resting) is 140 (10 minutes in only 110 bpm). I'm trying to do the math on net number of heartbeats per day compared to my sedentary and mildly obese wife, without the benefit of Excel and my brain not competing well with my muscles for oxygen. Me: (130 + 80 + 55 * 22) * 60 = 85,200 beats per day. Her: 75 * 24 * 60 = 108,000 beats per day. This satisfies me that there is probably a net benefit to the heart.

Posted by: Thomas Mark Schaefer at June 4th, 2021 11:34 AM

I would argue that it is crucial to treat exercise in the same complex category as nutrition (with a comparable spectrum and range of benefits) - where we may first start the talk of quantity, quality; then proceed to essential minimums and healthy maximums; further on to advanced strategies for consumption such as meal timing, hydration, fasting, specialized diets... etc (has anyone kept such a daily/ weekly log -for years-?)
**So with physical exertion - comparing someone who puts in a minimum aerobic, flexibility, and strength exercise regime, as one might self-monitor at a gym (to maintain/ lose weight) -to- someone who pushes themselves to exhaustion/ intensity/ maximums, which will achieve better-than-maintenance results -to- the gold standard -> those athletes, who in conjunction, likely with a kinesiologist/ sports medicine specialist have learned to train and optimize -smart- that is: essential post-workout recovery, injury minimization, multi-decade high performance levels. It is the mechanisms of effective rebuild/ repair (in smaller cycles of greater frequency) that are they rare key. To coach someone to reach a personal best in years but then have them burn-out or bow-out due to injury is most common, but to have the lifetime coach who ensures maintaining consistent (likely endurance, moderate sprint, moderate strength) over decades with minimal evidence of chronic damage is the exemplar to aspire to. Witness the overwhelming evidence of elite distancers/ marathoners maintaining near Bests into their 40s, 50s and beyond, compared to sprinters whose peak age is frequently 20s (with significant decline per decade, even with significant training). How does one strategize, monitor, and emphasize recovery and multi-decade elevated performance levels -- herein lies the micro- and macro-level system 'maintenance' that may inform pharmacological and body mechanic/ intervention anti-ageing therapies.

Posted by: Jer at June 5th, 2021 11:15 AM

While the results are not super impressive, it's the best we have at our personal disposal right now. Quality sleep, exercise, good diet and socializing are about as much as we can reasonably do. Activating heat shock response is also another thing to consider such as happens in a sauna or hot tub.

I use creatine for the record, it helps speed up my recovery time following a long hike or workout and it helps me work exercise harder. Creatine has a ton of research behind it going back decades. Just make sure you hydrate more than usual as the cells take in more water when you take Creatine.

Posted by: Steve Hill at June 7th, 2021 3:50 AM

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