Longer Life

Sitting Shortens Genetic Life Extenders

Longer Life. Healthy Living Magazine

Longer Life. Healthy Living Magazine

Scientists found the less time a person spent sitting, the longer their telomeres, and the greater their chance of living longer.

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Standing is better than sitting when it comes to telomere length, say scientists. The telomere is a cap at the end of the DNA chain. It’s thick with segments. It acts like a plastic tip at the end of a shoe lace. When it’s gone the whole strand frays and unravels; as it shortens, cell life does too. Telomeres respond to the environment and to chemicals in the body.

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Forty-nine obese adults had the telomeres of their blood cells measured. Half went on an exercise program and the other half did not. The amount of sitting time was also measured. The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, revealed that although people who did more exercise tended to be healthier, the most important factor was how much time they spent sitting down.

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“In many countries formal exercise may be increasing, but at the same time people spend more time sitting,” Professor Mai-Lis Hellenius, from Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden told the media. “There is growing concern that not only low physical activity but probably also sitting and sedentary behaviour is an important and new health hazard of our time. We hypothesize that a reduction in sitting hours is of greater importance than an increase in exercise time for elderly risk individuals.”

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