Scientists from the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) have demonstrated the importance of exercise for reducing stress.
When we experience traumatic events, for instance the death of a loved one, our bodies endure a tremendous amount of stress. These events and other forms of chronic psychological stress can shorten the life span.
Psychological stress leads to shorter telomeres – the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that measure of cell age and, thus, health. Telomeres are tiny units of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that protect and stabilize chromosomes. Every time a cell divides, some telomeres drop off. After a certain number of cell divisions, which varies depending on the cell type, the telomeres reach a critical length and the cell typically dies. When too many cells die, serious medical conditions can result such as Parkinson’s.
The good news is that findings of this study suggest that exercise may prevent this damage. Scientists are still working to figure out the exact relationship between length of telomeres and exercise. However, they speculate that exercise has an important role in reducing the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) that is released in the body.
We saw a relationship between childhood trauma and short telomere length but the relationship seems to go away in people who exercise vigorously at least three times a week, says co-author Jue Lin, PhD, associate research biochemist in the laboratory of senior author and Nobel laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF.
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Adopted from Jonathan Kantrowitz, Health News Report