March 8th, 2011 at 4:53 am
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Study shows exercise fights premature aging

by Carol Bursack

When it comes to aging, I’m good at denial. Oh, I know my “numbers” – years, weight, triglycerides, cholesterol. I know, for the most part, what foods I should and shouldn’t eat, though I’m not very good about following through with the solid nutrition suggested. Also, I know that exercise is essential to good health. But knowing is not doing.

An article on titled Endurance Exercise Prevents Premature Aging, hammers home the unvarnished truth, penetrating my denial at least for today.

The study used mice genetically engineered to age faster than normal. Yes, mice. I can use that for an excuse, I suppose, but I do think that this time I’ll have to acknowledge that mice can be useful to help researchers speed along without waiting an entire human lifetime to understand certain human conditions.

The study, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), “…found that premature aging in nearly every organ in the body was completely prevented in mice that ran on a treadmill three times a week for five months.”

The researchers stated that they tried types of medication as well as diet alterations, but that had little effect on premature aging. Endurance exercise was the key to healthy aging for these mice.

We’re all going to get old – unless we die first

Many of us know some fortunate people who’ve grown old through they have a pack-a-day cigarette habit, drink a shot of whiskey with their morning bacon and eggs, and hate vegetables almost as much as they hate exercise.

Also, many of us know, or have known, marathoners who trained like professionals, ate according to training manuals, never seemed to do a thing to harm their health – and didn’t live past 50.

There are no guarantees in this life. Genetics play a huge role in how we age, what diseases we’ll get, and how long, barring accidents and natural or unnatural events that shorten life, we’ll live.

However health and aging programs on television, as well as health articles on websites and in newspapers and magazines, are popular, which indicates to me that education isn’t enough. We, as a nation, aren’t very good at following the expert advice we receive.

I know I’m not. I find many of these shows fascinating. But, how much are they telling me that I really don’t already know? Not much. Do they motivate me? Maybe – for awhile.

I’m still looking for the secret to staying motivated toward good health; the secret to keeping myself from plugging the hold in my denial made by good information, and hiding out in a good book figuring that “I deserve” to have this break time after a long day of work. I need to change the wiring in my brain to recognize the fact that my body deserves my best efforts to maintain decent health. I’m working on it.

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