Epigenetic Research Suggests a Longer Lifespan Due to Late Life Exercise

According to various research done over the years, not participating in exercise has quite a lot of deleterious effects while exercising has quite the array of perks. A new study reveals an extra perk. Recent research supported by three institutions suggests that exercising during old age improves longevity.

Physical Exercise

Physical Exercise

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This study was carried out on an epigenetic level. The claims hold that specific molecules that interact with genes are responsible for this longevity if the organism exercises at an old age. However, these molecules do not guarantee healthy living for those “long-living organisms.”

Research findings

This research was carried out by seven professional researchers from three different institutions. These researchers explained their research process in the journal Aging Cell, “Late-life exercise mitigates skeletal muscle epigenetic aging,”

According to their writings, this experiment was carried out on an average 24-month lifespan of mice. Like humans, the capacity of older mice is lower than that of younger mice. A group of old mice aged 22 months was put to run on a weighted exercising wheel, while the other group was not disturbed. These exercising mice were allowed to exercise for the remaining two months of their life. After 2 months, the normal living group of mice reached their maximum span and started dropping off. However, the exercising old group of mice lived for an additional eight weeks.

The researchers pointed out that the lifespan of a mouse is also based on their housing conditions and specific strains on the mice. These factors were controlled during this experiment.

At a closer look at the epigenetic level, the researchers explained that the molecular cause of this result is a process known as DNA methylation. This process occurs where methyl groups attach to the external surfaces of genes to make these genes code specific proteins.

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DNA methylation is however a natural process. It is present in young people’s bodies but shows more activity in older people. Some old persons even have hypermethylation. DNA methylation is a biochemical process in which the body saves itself. This process makes it possible to calculate the age of individuals easily.

As much as there is a clear definition between methylation and aging, that of muscle function and methylation is still hazy. Although the researchers in their defense made it clear that this is not the topic of study, this cannot be neglected. If DNA methylation has genetic effects on people, it undoubtedly has phenotypic effects. The major concerns of these phenotypic effects are “what are the consequences?”, “Is it the singular reason foraging or one of the multiple factors?”  These answers are still not known.

Clinical significance

In clinical terms, exercising in old age is a strategy for increased life span. This holds many promises for several aged people that still desire to be healthy, although consistency is the major factor in attaining good health.

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This research was led by Kevin Murach and his co-authors (Camille Brightwell, StankeyJ.Watowich, Yuan When, Christine M. Latham, Cory M. Duncan, Andrea L. Dimet-Wiley, and Christopher S. Fry). More work is still being done on the subject

References

Late-life exercise mitigates skeletal muscle epigenetic aging

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