The best way to lead a long life is to get up.
Researchers have found that sitting too much may shorten the body’s telomeres, which are the protective caps on the end of chromosomes. They’re sort of like those plastic protectors at the end of shoe laces.
Because short telomeres can’t protect the chromosome as well, they’re often linked to “premature aging and disease.”
The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, revealed that adults who spend more time on their feet are much more likely to have long telomeres.
Researchers examined 49 “overweight, sedentary” adults in their sixties. Half participated in a six-month fitness program, tracking progress through a pedometer and fitness journal, while the others continued their inactive lifestyles.
Per Sjogren, the study’s lead researcher, said that further research is needed.
According to Sjogren,
One should, of course, be careful with the conclusions, since our study is rather small and needs to be confirmed in larger trials… This study adds a missing snippet to that tale by noting a direct correlation between reduced time sitting each day and increased telomere length.
The study may also mean that exercise isn’t just making people healthier by virtue of caloric burning and cardiovascular fitness — it’s helping gym-goers stay on their feet more and protect their telomeres.