Saturday, January 21, 2017
Your office job is literally aging you
Sitting for more than 10 hours a day means you are biologically eight years older, a study found.
Those who sat for extended periods and got little exercise had cells that were biologically older than the cells of people who moved around.
Researchers from the University of California at San Diego studied almost 1,500 women ages 64 to 95.
They found those who remained seated for more than 10 hours and completed less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day were most affected.
These women had shorter telomeres — tiny protective caps found on the ends of DNA strands that act like the plastic tips of shoelaces.
Telomeres guard against deterioration and progressively shorten and fray with age. Shortened telomeres are associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and major cancers.
Significantly, the shortening process can be accelerated by lifestyle factors such as obesity and smoking.
Study leader Dr. Aladdin Shadyab said people who spend long hours sitting at desks or in chairs at home could mitigate some of the damage by exercising.
He said, “Our study found cells age faster with a sedentary lifestyle.”
“Chronological age doesn’t always match biological age.”
“We found that women who sat longer did not have shorter telomere length if they exercised for at least 30 minutes a day.”
“Discussions about the benefits of exercise should start when we are young, and physical activity should continue to be part of our daily lives as we get older, even at 80 years old.”
National United Kingdom guidelines suggest adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise each week.
Health chiefs suggest this can be achieved by doing 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week.
They also advise: “All adults should minimize the amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods.”
Shadyab said his research team is the first to objectively measure how the combination of sedentary time and exercise can impact the aging of telomeres.
The participants completed questionnaires and wore an accelerometer on their right hip for seven consecutive days during waking and sleeping hours to track their movements.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Future studies will examine how exercise relates to telomere length in younger people and men.
Previous studies have suggested men who adopt a sedentary lifestyle may be less at risk of disease than women.