Staying active keeps you (well at least your genes) younger

An article in 2008 (click here to access) published in Archives of Internal Medicine, found that adults who are physically active are biologically younger than those who are sedentary. This study focused on telomere length as an indicator of biological age. I find this research really exciting because it helps us dig deeper into exercise research. We know that those who exercise have better all around health and decreased mortality, but we are not exactly sure why. In my opinion, this is where health psychology researchers can lend a hand. A few questions I’d like to answer through me research are: What are the biological mechanisms by which exercising helps you look and feel younger? How biologically does exercise decrease the risk of certain diseases like cancer? Does it act directly on cancerous cells? Are there psychological variables that mediate or moderate this relationship? For example, maybe exercise decreases stress and depression or increases social support, and through these other benefits (that are already known to have health implications), exercise is keeps us healthy. Is there a certain type or amount of exercise that is the best? Does it depend on what disease you are trying to prevent? Just a few things I’m lucky enough to spend my day thinking about…

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