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Exercise Keeps us Young

Posted 1/9/2015

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  If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that exercise is a not infrequent topic. There are a number of studies that indicate that regular moderate exercise decreases the recurrence risk for most kinds of cancer. That alone is enough to keep me at the gym. Now comes this study, as reported in the New York Times, that suggests that exercise keeps us young.

  Now, let's be honest here: it would be ridiculous to say that exercising makes 70 the new 40 or one of those other pronouncements that make me shake my head in disbelief. (I always want to say something like: Get real. Your body is the age that it is even though there are surely ways to make it stronger and healthier.) Let's also be honest here about my long-standing view of exercise: I rarely enjoy it. Many years ago, during a very difficult personal time in my life, I ran a marathon. I undertook the challenge as a way to prove to myself that I could do whatever I had to do and could manage something really hard. It was really hard, but I did it. Since then, I have continued to exercise regularly, but I do it with more or less the same enthusiasm as I bring to flossing my teeth every night. It is just a habit that needs to be maintained.

  Whatever your personal level of enthusiasm or commitment, this is another piece of information that strongly suggests that regular exercise is a very good idea. Here is the start and a link to read more:

How Exercise Keeps Us Young

by Gretchen Reynolds

Active older people resemble much younger people physiologically, according to a new study of the effects of exercise on aging. The findings suggest that many of our expectations about the inevitability of physical decline with advancing years may be incorrect and that how we age is, to a large degree, up to us.

Aging remains a surprisingly mysterious process. A wealth of past scientific research has shown that many bodily and cellular processes change in undesirable ways as we grow older. But science has not been able to establish definitively whether such changes result primarily from the passage of time — in which case they are inevitable for anyone with birthdays — or result at least in part from lifestyle, meaning that they are mutable.

This conundrum is particularly true in terms of inactivity. Older people tend to be quite sedentary nowadays, and being sedentary affects health, making it difficult to separate the effects of not moving from those of getting older.


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