telomeres3Believe it or not, we are now empowered to influence the aging process. The fountain-of-youth that once seemed so elusive is literally revealing itself to our understanding as researchers and scientists probe the workings of our DNA.

Thanks to science we now understand that protecting the cell’s DNA…most specifically the telomeres is the key to a younger body.

Telomeres are tiny genetic clocks that tell the cells how old they are. It seems as though telomeres are key to anti-aging…to a younger, more youthful body and brain. They can be thought of as the weak link in our DNA. They are easily damaged, and need repairing but lack the repair efficiency of other DNA.

The genes we are born with were once thought of as the end-all when it came to our destiny. But new research is changing that train of thought dramatically. Research is now suggesting that lifestyle changes can actually change how our body ages.

This discovery opens recognition that exercise may be the key to longevity as evidence supports practicing a healthy lifestyle and there is nothing better for producing a healthy lifestyle…a lifestyle of wellness than proper exercise (joined with proper and healthy eating habits).

It all begins in the nucleus of our cells where genes are arranged along twisted, double-stranded molecules of DNA called chromosomes. Telomeres are stretches of DNA located at the end of chromosomes. They act like little caps that keep the sticky ends of chromosomes from randomly clumping together and inhibiting the expression of genetic information.

Not only do these caps protect our genetic data but they make it possible for our cells to divide. However it is this division that shortens the telomeres. In fact, every time a cell divides the telomeres get shorter and it is this shortening of the telomeres that is associated with cancer, aging and the risk of death.

So, it sees that telomeres are major players in the process of aging and hold promise of not just slowing aging but potentially reversing it. In telomeres1fact, many health problems can be reversed by restoring and “rebuilding” your telomeres. The length of your telomeres is literally revealing your age and health.

Shortened telomeres cause inefficient gene function that tends to lock in place issues with inflammation and immune cell aging which in turn drives the rate of aging and the risk for disease.

Once DNA becomes damaged beyond the body’s ability to repair it the process of death sets in.

Since lifestyle can effect and change our DNA then it becomes obvious why active people…those that give their bodies the needed physical exercise to stay healthy have longer telomeres.

Telomere shortening is a sure marker of cellular aging but it also effects brain function. There is a direct correlation between short telomeres and degenerative brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Although you cannot see your telomeres you do have the power to affect the rate of shortening by eliminating stress and bad habits such as smoking and lack of sleep, alcohol, drugs, over-eating, living a sedentary lifestyle and consistently consuming insufficient nutrients and processed dead foods…foods laden with poisonous trans-fats and other equally harmful chemical additives.

The bottom line is that we need to be protecting our telomeres if we want to experience a young body and our choices concerning what we eat and how much and how challenging our exercise is has a direct and substantial impact on keeping our telomeres long.

Studies have shown that there is a distinct difference in the length of telomeres in people that are least active physically and those that are active. Active subjects had telomere length of people 10 years younger.

In fact, it was discovered that just 3 hours of exercise a week resulted in the reversal of 10 years of aging when it came to telomere length.

Another feather in the “exercise hat”…just add telomere length to the long list of benefits that are gained from consistent challenging exercise.

Inflammation which causes pre-mature aging and the increased risk of disease…directly and negatively impacts your telomeres.

Science has proven that exercise and diet are primary players when it comes to impacting your inflammation and indirectly influencing telomere health. Telomerase is an enzyme used by the body to keep telomeres long and stable and exercise and nutrient dense foods have overlapping mechanisms that work to slow damage to telomeres and boost telomerase activity.

telomeres2Your choice at this point is to either decrease the rate of telomere shortening by interfering with the factors responsible for causing damage or by attempting to influence the factors that increase telomere lengthening.

It’s not hard to figure out from this point that great nutrition and proper challenging exercise will work to decrease telomere shortening thus promoting longevity.

So, in essence no one but you…and you alone is responsible for the length…long or short of your telomeres because only you can control what goes into your body in the way of nutrition and how much proper challenging exercise you subject your body to.

For more tools and resources to assist you in attaining your goals and achieving the success you desire in life, please visit: Carolyn Hansen Fitness. I help clients take charge of their health before circumstance removes the option. If your quest for peak performance living is a journey I’ll put you in the driver’s seat.”