A recent study published in the journal PLoS ONE reveals how we can all look younger and decrease cognitive deficits like ADHD. The secret: exercise! That’s probably not what you want to hear, but it makes sense.
Scientists at Tel Aviv University found that “endurance exercises,” aerobic exercise like running or cardio kickboxing not only help burn fat, but can also make us look younger and decrease symptoms of cognitive decline.
The team at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine led by
Prof. Dafna Benayahu propose that their data reveal why older people who have exercised throughout their lives age more gracefully.
“When we age, we experience sarcopenia, a decline in mass and function of muscles, and osteopenia referrers to bone loss,” says Dr. Benayahu. So without daily exercise, the muscular and skeletal systems weaken and are more susceptible to injury. This may also play a role in the increased likelihood of falling as we age.
The key to staying young seems to lie in stem cells that get activated during endurance exercise. To determine this, Benayahu and her team studied rats. Basically, making the rats exercise actually increased the number of muscle stem cells that typically decrease as we age.
The results were quite compelling when contrasting rats that exercised against sedentary rats:
* The number of youth producing stem cells increased after rats ran on a treadmill for 20 minutes a day for a 13-week period.
* The younger rats showed a 20% to 35% increase in the average number of stem cells per muscle fiber retained.
* Older rats attained a 33% to 47% increase in stem cells meaning they benefited even more significantly than the younger rats!
* Endurance exercise prompted the older rats to get up and go more often!
Aging while embracing a sedentary lifestyle significantly contributes to the development of disease. Furthermore, it contributes to a decline in cognitive abilities.
In other previous studies, researchers have also found that exercise in outdoor or ‘green’ settings reduces the symptoms of ADHD.
What’s the future? Well, it’s likely that scientists will try to discover the chemical process behind stem cell activation to produce more youthful bodies. It can then be sold as a pill. It seems the world would rather do that than just get up and dance! And no side-effects except sore muscles that are getting stronger, more youthful, and defined!