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Exercise Reverses Aging

When I lived in Qatar, we had a group that did water-aerobics, and we, sort of ironically, called ourselves the Aqua Babes. (If you knew us, you would snicker along with us. ) The best part was that we had a lot of fun, secondly, we got some exercise. Our motto was “Any exercise is better than nothing,” and we would repeat it to ourselves on mornings when the pool was too cold and we were kicking lacksadaisically in the hot tub, LOL. It tickles my heart to see the researcher use the same words. 🙂

I found this report on AOL NEWS

Photo Courtesy of Adeel Safdar
Ph.D. student Adeel Safdar is pictured with one of the mice that took part in the exercise and aging study at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Research Shows Exercise Reverses Aging in Mice

Rebecca Delaney

Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky is not a couch potato. The professor of pediatrics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, recently placed first in his age group in a series of trail races in the United States and Canada. He’s also competed internationally in winter triathlons, ski orienteering and adventure racing. However, if he feels burnt out and needs a little motivation to hit the gym, he needs only to look to his lab.

Tarnopolsky recently published a groundbreaking study with Ph.D. student Adeel Safdar that found exercise reversed the signs of aging in mice.

Tarnopolsky specializes in studying and treating mitochondria dysfunction. Mitochondria are similar to little furnaces in each cell that convert food and oxygen into energy for the cell to do its job. As people age, the mitochondria break down, causing the cells to break down as well — thus contributing to the well-known signs of aging, brain atrophy, wrinkles, hair loss and heart problems.

“We knew that exercise was beneficial and that runners had a lower risk of death,” Tarnopolsky told AOL News. “But we wanted to look at the systemic effects and find a therapy [exercise] that’s available to most people if they got off the couch and did it.”

The mice that Tarnopolsky used in his study had been genetically modified with dysfunctional mitochondria, meaning they were engineered to age prematurely. Half of these genetically modified mice ran for 45 minutes on mini treadmills, like those at a gym — except smaller — three times a week. The other half remained sedentary in their cages.

The results were staggering.

“After a few months of exercise, there were absolutely unprecedented changes,” Safdar said. “And we saw improvements not only in their running capacity but also their other organ systems.”

He added, “It went way above and beyond the muscles and heart, but also the brain, gonads, kidneys and other organs. It was absolutely exciting.”

The exercised mice were also more robust and had shinier, fuller fur.

“Every organ was better off in the mice that exercised,” Tarnopolsky said. “And not just a little bit better — it was a 100 percent improvement.”

Safdar said that before he joined Tarnopolsky’s lab he wasn’t that interested in exercising, but now he makes a point to stay active by running and doing karate.

“People who exercise are generally physically active longer and are happier,” he said. “Their whole system remains young, so to speak.”

And for those who haven’t exercised regularly, it’s not too late to start, the scientists said. People don’t have to run on a treadmill for 45 minutes three times a day, like the mice.

“Anything is better than nothing,” Tarnopolsky said. Those who are older than 65 can still see the benefits if they just start walking for five minutes and slowly ramp up.

Tarnopolsky also conducted a previous study on weight training in seniors, which proved to significantly slow the body’s aging process.

“It all about keeping yourself moving every day,” Safdar added.

March 14, 2011 Posted by | Aging, Doha, Exercise, ExPat Life, Experiment, Health Issues, Qatar | Leave a comment