Researchers have discovered evidence that endurance exercise, such as running, swimming, cross-country skiing, and bicycling, will help you age better than endurance exercise, which involves strength training with weights.
In a study published in the European Heart Journal Today, researchers in Germany observed the effects of three types of exercise (resistance training, high-intensity interval training and resistance training) on the way that cells age in the human body, and found that resistance training and High intensity decreased or even regressed Cellular aging, but that resistance training did not.
Our DNA is organized into chromosomes in all the cells of our body. At the end of each chromosome there is a sequence of repetitive DNA, called telomere, which covers the chromosome and prevents its ends from deteriorating. As we get older, telomeres shorten and this is an important molecular mechanism for cell aging, which eventually leads to cell death when the telomere is no longer able to protect chromosomal DNA. The process of telomere shortening is regulated by several proteins. Among them is the telomerase enzyme that is able to counteract the shortening process and can even add length to the telomeres.
Researchers led by Professor Ulrich Laufs, from the University of Leipzig, Germany, enrolled 266 healthy, but previously inactive, young volunteers and randomly assigned them to six months of endurance training (continuous running), high-intensity interval training (warm-up, followed by four bouts) of the high intensity race that alternates with the slowest gear, and then a slower end of the slower race), resistance training (circuit training on eight machines, including the extension of back, cracking, dismounting, seated rowing, bending and extension of the sitting legs, pressure of the sitting chest and pressing the lying leg), or to an unchanged lifestyle (the control group).
Participants who were randomly assigned to all three forms of exercise performed three sessions of 45 minutes per week, and a total of 124 completed the study. The researchers analyzed the telomere length and telomerase activity in the white blood cells extracted from the volunteers at the start of the study, and from two to seven days after the last exercise exercise six months later.
Professor Laufs said: "Our main finding is that, compared with the start of the study and the control group, in volunteers who did resistance and high intensity training, they increased the activity of telomerase and the length of the telomeres, which are important for cellular aging and the capacity for regeneration, and thus, a healthy aging … Interestingly, resistance training did not exert these effects. "
Telomerase activity increased two to three times and the telomere length increased significantly in the resistance and high intensity training groups compared to the resistance and control groups.
"The study identifies a mechanism by which resistance training, but not resistance training, improves healthy aging, and can help design future studies on this important topic using telomere length as an indicator of" biological age. " in future intervention studies, "said the professor. Laufs.
The co-author of the study, Dr. Christian Werner, of the University of Saarland, Germany, said: "The study has several implications: our data support the current recommendations of the European Society of Cardiology that the resistance exercise should be complementary to the resistance training instead of a The data identify the activity of telomerase and the length of the telomere as sensitive ways to measure the effects of different forms of exercise at the cellular level.The use of these measures to guide training recommendations for individuals can improve both the adherence and the effectiveness of training programs in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. "
Previous research has shown that longer telomeres and increased telomerase activity are associated with healthy aging. However, this is the first prospective, randomized, controlled study of the effects of different forms of exercise on these two measurements of cell aging.
Professor Laufs said: "Physical exercise is widely recommended, however, prospective randomized controlled-training studies are very rare because they require great effort and there are no sources of funding for the industry." The number of participants in our study may seem small compared to large drugs however, to our knowledge, this is the largest randomized study comparing well-defined training modalities with a control group and with a long duration of six months.We hope that our project will stimulate confirmation and more studies in this field. "
A possible mechanism that could explain why resistance and high-intensity training could increase telomere length and telomerase activity is that these types of exercise affect the levels of nitric oxide in blood vessels, which contributes to the changes in the cells.
"From an evolutionary perspective, resistance and high-intensity training can mimic our ancestors' advantageous journey and fight-or-flight behavior better than strength training," said Dr. Werner.
The limitations of the study include the fact that the number of participants is small, although it represents the largest study to investigate this in a prospective and randomized and controlled manner; and the daily activities of the participants outside the training sessions may have included elements of the other forms of exercise, but this would be likely in all groups, including the control group.
In an accompanying editorial by Professor Konstantinos Stellos and Professor Ioakim Spyridopoulos, University of Newcastle and Freeman Hospital, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom, who did not participate in the research, write that so far there is no evidence that the paper Performed by telomerase to maintain the length of telomeres is implicated in the onset of cardiovascular diseases, except perhaps for heart failure. Rather, it seems that an acceleration in telomere shortening may be a sign of increased oxidative stress and increased cell turnover, coinciding with a decrease in telomerase activity. However, telomerase produces an increase in nitric oxide, reduces oxidative stress, reduces DNA damage to cells and reduces cell death, which is important to delay the blockage of arteries with fat deposits. They conclude that the findings of the study by Dr. Werner and Professor Laufs "clearly underline the advantage of aerobic endurance training compared to endurance training in cardiovascular aging."
Resistance training and motivation for exercise go hand in hand.
"Differential effects of resistance, interval and resistance training on telomerase activity and telomere length in a randomized controlled study", by Christian Werner et al. European Heart Journal. DOI: 10.1093 / eurheartj / ehy585
"Exercise, telomerase activity and prevention of cardiovascular diseases", by Konstantinos Stellos and Ioakim Spyridopoulos. European Heart Journal. DOI: 10.1093 / eurheartj / ehy707