“If only I could stop or slow down the aging process”, said (or soon will say) almost everyone, at one time or another.

We have plenty of ways to look younger, via surgical intervention, topical creams and laser treatments, keeping stress lower in our lives, hair coloring, etc. To date, though, no one has come up with a way to actually slow down the aging process.

However, one answer was sitting right under our noses and it took a fine group of people at Brigham Young University to bring it to light. Having seen a number of people in their 80s and 90s, with fully intact minds and well-functioning bodies, I have asked almost all of them, over the last 20+ years, what their secret was.

The answer was universal: keep moving and exercise every day.

The group from BYU would completely agree. It appears regular and highly active movement (for a woman, this would be jogging 30 minutes a day, five days a week, and for a man, jogging 40 minutes a day, five days a week) helps to lengthen telomeres.

Telomeres, for those who don’t know, are the end caps on chromosomes. They could be considered the body’s biological clock, as they are strongly tied to aging. Every time a cell within the human body replicates, the end of these telomeres shortens. The shortening is directly tied to aging.

This study by BYU showed that adults who consistently engage in demanding exercise have longer telomeres and enjoy a nine year advantage over those who live complacent lifestyles. Though the mechanism is not completely understood, it does provide a scientific basis for why we see some people in their 80s and 90s living so well.

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