Regular exercises are really good for you. Everyone knows that. But another study has shown that exercising can even stop aging (and in some cases reverses it) at a cellular level.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota found that high-intensity training in aerobic exercises (like biking and walking) effectively stopped aging at the cellular level.
These exercises caused cells in the body to make more proteins for the mitochondria in your cells. These are cell organelles that produce energy and they decline with age. These exercises increased the capacity of these mitochondria.
“Based on everything we know, there’s no substitute for these exercise programs when it comes to delaying the aging process. These things we are seeing cannot be done by any medicine,” the researchers said.
The study consisted of 36 men and 36 women from two age groups. The “young” volunteers were 18-38 years old and the the “older” volunteers were 65-80 years old.
One group of volunteers did high-intensity interval biking. Another group did strength training with weights. One more group did both strength training and interval training.
At the Cellular Level
The researchers found that while strength training was effective at building muscle mass, high-intensity interval training yielded the biggest benefits at the cellular level.
The “young” group that did interval training saw a 49 percent increase in mitochondrial capacity. The “older” group doing interval training saw an even more dramatic increase of 69 percent.
In addition, the volunteers also improved their insulin sensitivity, thus decreasing their risk of developing diabetes.
So what’s going on at the cellular level?
As we age, the energy-generating capacity of our cells’ mitochondria slowly decreases. The researchers found evidence that exercise encourages the cell to make more RNA copies of genes that produced mitochondrial proteins and proteins responsible for muscle growth.
The most impressive result was the increase in muscle protein content. In some cases, the high-intensity biking regimen actually seemed to reverse the age-related decline in mitochondrial function and proteins needed for muscle building.
In plain English, the high-intensity training seems to be enhancing and transforming these mitochondria in cells. Effectively, the exercises were stopping aging at a cellular level, and in some cases, in reversing aging.
What This Means for You?
Well, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to exercise regularly to keep in shape and be healthy.
But this study showed that you can do high-intensity interval training (especially biking) and effectively stop aging at the cellular level.
So get our your aerobic gears and take out that bike for a good spin. Keep doing it and you may stop aging!
Robinson et al. Enhanced Protein Translation Underlies Improved Metabolic and Physical Adaptations to Different Exercise Training Modes in Young and Old Humans. Cell Metabolism, 2017. http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(17)30099-2