How Running And Strength Training Can Help You Live Longer
It should be no surprise to anyone that exercise is one of the best things any one of us can do to improve our health. Exercise makes us stronger and more alert. It also has a positive effect on our mental health. Beyond just feeling good that we went to the gym, studies have shown that exercise boosts serotonin and releases dopamine, which is involved in synthesizing other essential chemicals.
Exercise has also been linked to our longevity as individuals. A little exercise each day significantly impacts not just how we live but also how long we live.
Exercise To Increase Your Lifespan
Doing just about any exercise provides massive health benefits, but running has been linked to the most significant increase in lifespan. Scientists recorded that people who did strength training had a 10% lower mortality risk, while those who did aerobic exercise saw a 24% lower mortality risk in people of all ages.
Other data shows that running reduced early death risk by almost 40%. This is not just death by lifestyle or health history. Running lowers the risk of all-cause death significantly. On average, the data showed an increased lifespan of roughly three years in people over the age of 65.
It is not apparent to scientists why running has the most increase. It could be linked to general motor mechanics, which are part of our biology and history. Some researchers speculate that it is connected to improvement in overall cardiovascular health. It strengthens the heart and reduces the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, excess weight, etc. In turn, the increased general heart and body health extends one’s life.
Running And Telomeres
Running has been associated with lengthening telomeres in our DNA. Telomeres are the end segments of our DNA that researchers have linked to the aging process. While we do not fully understand their relation to aging, they are currently part of extensive research.
A large study on over 100,000 participants found that shorter-than-average telomeres were linked with higher mortality risk. Roughly 10% of the participants were 23% more likely to die within three years due to their shorter telomeres. But running can affect these lengths. Those who ran regularly had telomeres 75% longer than those who were sedentary.
While running seems to be one of the best exercises for our health, time can wear our bodies down and destroy our joints. If you have joint problems, jumping into running first thing might cause too much damage. So, try some other exercises instead.
Other Exercises To Consider
Aside from running, anything that gets you moving and the heart pumping a bit more is good for the heart and body. It dilates the blood vessels and pushes oxygen and other nutrients to the cells. Walking with a bit of pep in your step, cycling, steps, or any other aerobic exercises are great.
Muscles have astounding memory and the ability to rejuvenate themselves when adequately stimulated. Many adults find themselves with excess pain and atrophy due to their sedentary lives. But exercise can reduce the pain and atrophy caused by age and inactivity. A study found that strength training, especially high-intensity interval training, improved an age-related decrease in muscular mitochondria. It also effectively altered the DNA in the cells (likely associated with increased hormonal production).
The study is also evidence that it is never too late to pick up exercise as a hobby. People who were over age 65 had better cellular responses than those who were under 30. So, doing exercise can even have more potential benefits for older individuals.