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Running: The best exercise to reverse ageing

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In a culture obsessed with youth, many of us look to supplements, fad diets and jars of anti-wrinkle cream to keep us feeling young. But is there another way for us to stave off the effects of ageing? Proving turning back the clock isn't just about fine lines, racking up the miles with some leisurely jogs also promises some serious anti-ageing effects too.

More effective than weight training

Running is one form of exercise with many benefits, like strengthening muscles, boosting your mood and making your body physically stronger. Now we can now add slowing down the ageing process to the list as well. A study by researchers from Germany’s Leipzig University assessed how different types of exercise had an effect on the ageing of human cells. The study compared continuous running, high-intensity interval training and resistance training, and discovered that although running reversed signs of cellular ageing, weight training didn’t.

124 healthy participants took part in the six-month research and were instructed to complete either three 45-minute workouts of endurance training, HIIT or resistance training per week. At the beginning and end of the study, the length and activity of telomeres (stretches of DNA at the end of chromosomes that affect the way humans age) in white blood cells were analysed. An increase in both was found for participants who took part in the endurance and HIIT training. As these are both important for cellular ageing, the more we can slow down this process, the more anti-ageing benefits we’ll see.

Slows the effects of ageing

It’s never too late to start running and you don't have to sprint to gain the benefits of running either. Just a 30-minute daily jog can reap major benefits (Source: https://www.fitforbeach.com).

As one of the best age-preventers, it can significantly reduce a person's risk of death

from heart disease compared to someone who doesn’t run. Research also suggests that elderly runners have fewer disabilities, enjoy an active life for longer and are less likely to die younger.

Takes years off your crucial tissues

According to Australian research, every six miles per week you run, a year can be taken off the age of your spinal marrow tissue. It may seem like an obscure anti-ageing fact, but what the study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research highlights is still important. As we age, the mainly ‘red’ blood cells our bone marrow produces change into a ‘yellow’ fatty marrow. This has a negative impact on our blood and bone metabolism, causing chronic illnesses like diabetes and osteoporosis.

The secret to keeping skin young

Running’s anti-ageing appeal isn’t just about what’s on the inside either, it may be able to reverse the tell-tale signs of age on the skin. Researchers at McMaster University suggest that a person can slow the speed at which they age by exercising regularly. The study found that people over the age of 40 who exercised regularly have healthier skin, with their skin resembling the more supple, elastic skin of people in their 20s and 30s. Exercise prevents the skin’s dermis from thinning and the skin’s barrier from thickening, so skin looks years younger at a microscopic level.

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