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01.09.2021


High-intensity sports slow down the rate at which you age

If you play sports and want to live longer, choose a sport that challenges your cardiovascular system. The more intensively the discipline you practice, the slower your cells age.


High-intensity sports slow down the rate at which you age


Study
Maha Sellami and Shamma Al-muraikhy, two researchers from Qatar University, analyzed blood samples from 80 elite athletes. The samples had been collected by an Italian anti-doping lab, but no doping was found in the samples used by Sellami and Al-muraikhy.

The researchers divided the samples into three groups: those of athletes who practiced a low-intensity sport, athletes who practiced a moderate-intensity sport and athletes in a high-intensity discipline. In this assessment, the researchers looked at the cardiovascular impact of the sports in question.

Click on the table below for a larger version.


High-intensity sports slow down the rate at which you age


The researchers determined, among other things, the length of the telomeres in the DNA of the athletes' blood cells. Telomeres are a type of biological clock. The longer you've been on this planet, and the greater the aging impact of your lifestyle, the shorter your telomeres are.

Results
The telomere length of the athletes who performed a high-intensity sport was significantly greater than that of the other athletes.


High-intensity sports slow down the rate at which you age


The researchers found no consistent correlation between exercise intensity and the activity of cytokines - other than that between interleukin-10 and exercise intensity. The more intensive the sport, the greater the activity of interleukin-10.

Interleukin-10 is an anti-inflammatory protein. Interleukin-10 lowers the activity of inflammatory proteins such as TNF-alpha and stimulates the B cells of the immune system.


High-intensity sports slow down the rate at which you age


Conclusion
"Longer telomeres and higher levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines were identified in athletes who belong to high-intensity sports, suggesting less aging and a potentially healthier phenotype compared to athletes who belong to low- and moderate-intensity sports", summarize the researchers.

Source:
Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Jun 28;10(7):1035.

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