exercise and aging Archives - Selling the Fountain of Youth Selling the Fountain of Youth

Posts Tagged ‘exercise and aging’

My Latest Interview: Growing Bolder Radio

30 Jul

I was interviewed today on the radio show “Growing Bolder.” We covered everything from bio-identical hormones (a terrible way to fend off aging, in my opinion) to exercise (the best way to stay young).

Listen here.

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Posted in Selling the Fountain of Youth


New on HuffPo: New Study Shows Moderate Exercise Prevents Premature Aging

02 Mar

Mice that ran on a treadmill a few times a week for five months fended off premature aging in nearly every organ of their bodies, according to a study published on February 21, 2011 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It’s one of the strongest pieces of evidence ever produced showing the power of exercise as an anti-aging remedy.

Read more at Huffington Post.

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Posted in Lifestyle, Science of Aging


Exercise and Aging: Yet Another Study Proves the Benefits

15 Oct

A study published in the Oct. 13 online edition of the journal Neurology shows that walking six miles a week prevents the brain from shrinking, which in turn preserves memory in aging people. It’s just the latest of many studies proving that good old exercise is the best anti-aging treatment around.

The study, conducted by University of Pittsburgh scientists, lasted for nine years and tracked the exercise habits of 299 people. The researchers found that walking 72 blocks per week–about the equivalent of six to nine miles–increased gray matter in the brain. Participants who were the most avid walkers cut their risk of suffering memory problems by half.

As I’ve been out speaking about Selling the Fountain of Youth over the last several weeks, I’ve often been asked what works when it comes to slowing down the aging process? I believe this latest study confirms what I’ve been telling people: Exercise is the only anti-aging remedy that has been shown to work in scientific, controlled trials.

“If regular exercise in midlife could improve brain health and improve thinking and memory in later life, it would be one more reason to make regular exercise in people of all ages a public health imperative,” said Kirk I. Erickson in a press release. I couldn’t agree more.

One study I cite in the book showed that men who became fit decreased their risk of dieing of any disease by a whopping 44%. And you don’t have to do Mr. Universe-style workouts to reap the benefits. Many studies have shown that moderate exercise–walking, gardening, climbing stairs–for a half hour, a few times a week, is more than adequate. This latest data on the benefits of walking should only drive home that point.

Here’s my bottom line: If you want to stay young, throw out the hormone gels and pricey supplements, turn off the TV, and take a walk. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

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Posted in Lifestyle


Global Aging Crisis? New Scientific Group Urges Action

15 Jul

A group of scientists recently gathered in California to discuss what they view as a global catastrophe. The aged will soon vastly outnumber the young, declared the group, which met at the behest of Lifestar Institute. But their vulnerability to age-related diseases will create a double-whammy for the economy: It will take productive folks out of the workplace, while at the same time taxing our already over-burdened health care system.

Few would argue with this theory. But the group’s plan for solving the problem might raise some eyebrows. They are calling for governments and life-sciences companies to fund three initiatives: Educating the public about how lifestyle choices can extend life; developing medicines to combat aging; and inventing regenerative technologies–i.e. stem cell therapies–for restoring parts of the body that decay with age.

I definitely applaud the first idea on their list. As I write in Selling the Fountain of Youth and in a previous post here, making good diet and exercise choices seems to extend life. Of course, getting people to eat well and exercise is not so easy–most people would rather be able to pop a pill to gain the same benefits.

Which brings us to the second idea–and one that’s a bit more questionable. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration doesn’t recognize aging as a disease. So pharmaceutical companies are much more likely to develop products to address diseases of aging–such as cancer and diabetes–rather than trying to prove those drugs actually fend off old age. Judging from a paper they published in the July 14 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, LifeStar and its panel of scientists believe this should change. They argue the industry should make medicines that repair and prevent the ravages of age. But without the support of regulators, their idea is unlikely to gain much traction.

As for regenerative medicine, it has a long way to go. Stem cell research is booming, especially in states like California, where it’s fueled by $3 billion in funding. But the day when we’ll be able to grow, say, a replacement kidney from a patient’s own stem cells is still the stuff of science fiction. So for now, we’ll just have to settle for organizations like LifeStar promoting the fantasy.

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Posted in Science of Aging


Exercise: The Only Anti-Aging Routine that Works

21 Jun

I came across a recent column in the Baltimore Sun penned by five-time Olympic speed-skating legend Eric Heiden. In “Exercise: The Anti-Aging Shield,” Heiden–now an orthopedic surgeon–writes about how exercise affects telomeres, which are tiny pieces of DNA that protect chromosomes. Scientists have long suspected that short telomeres are associated with heart disease, diabetes, and early death.

According to recent research at the University of California in San Francisco, exercise lowers stress, which in turn preserves telomere length. (Telomeres are the red bits in the photo on the right.) In essence, exercise prevents cells from aging due to stress.  And you don’t need to put in an Olympian effort: Vigorous physical activity for a total of 42 minutes over a three-day period is plenty, the researchers say. You have to keep it up, week in and week out, over a lifetime. Still, says Heiden, this is the first study to show definitively that exercise is linked to longer telomeres.

As is the case with anything related to anti-aging, though, at least one company is trying to give people an easy way out. When I was researching my book, I met Noel Patton, founder of TA Sciences, a New York company that sells an herbal supplement called TA-65. Patton believes TA-65 lengthens telomeres, and when I met him, he was busy recruiting people to try it as part of his “Patton Protocol”–which costs $25,000 a year. This despite the fact that he has little scientific proof that the supplement, derived from the Chinese herb astragalus, affects telomere length at all.

Exercise, on the other hand, has been proven time and again to have remarkable anti-aging properties. A study by the Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas found that death rates plummeted among people who started taking half-hour walks a few times a week. Men who became fit decreased their risk of dying of any disease by a staggering 44%.

Yet exercise is still among the hardest chores to get Americans to do. A 2009 Gallup survey found that only one in four Americans were willing to get off their butts and exercise for a scant half-hour, five or more days a week.

It’s not as if moderate exercise is that difficult. Gardening counts, as does taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If the UCSF research proves true, all of that will help lengthen your telomeres and possibly extend your life. I got a dog and started walking between 40 minutes and an hour a day, mixing high-speed and low-speed walking. I lost 10 pounds without really intending to, and my HDL (the “good” cholesterol) went up. My primary care doctor recently told me I don’t really need to worry about doing other sorts of exercise–the dog is plenty.

One thing is certain: My dog costs me a lot less than $25,000 a year, and she’s much cuter than a bottle of TA-65.

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Posted in Lifestyle