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Ask the Dietitians

Does Exercise Slow Aging?

How regular exercise may help you stay young.

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Q: Can exercise slow down the aging process?

A: For all that’s understood about the benefits of exercise, the direct link between exercise and aging has remained largely unknown. But research published in Cell Metabolism indicates that different forms of exercise may slow down the aging process. Scientists have discovered that interval training helps cells to function more like “younger” versions of themselves, essentially slowing or even reversing cellular aging. Interval training – which combines short bursts of high-intensity exertion with longer stretches of moderate exercise – causes cells to create more of the proteins that enable cells to produce energy and build muscle. The same research also found that high-intensity cardio exercise delivers some of the same cell-boosting benefits. And, another study by researchers at the University of Mississippi and the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that any form of exercise – from walking your dog to jogging – is associated with improvements in an important marker of cellular aging. And the more you exercise, the greater the benefit. While there is still a lot to learn about exercise and the aging process, it’s increasingly clear that moving your body every day has the powerful ability to help slow down aging.