Yoga, meditation and exercise reverses aging process, doctors say
Study looks at lifestyle changes among men for results
Those who think young - along with those who adopt a healthy lifestyle, tend to have the aging process reverses. That's the conclusion that's been reached by a group of researchers - although they tell others that it's far too soon to draw definite conclusions.
Telomere length, pictured here in green, was measured by the researchers at the beginning of the study; their length was tested again after five years.
Researchers studied 35 men with low-risk prostate cancer. Some of them were asked to change their lifestyle and the others carried on as usual.
Specifically, test subjects had to consume a balanced diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, walk at least 30 minutes each day, for six days of the week, and reduce stress levels by taking up yoga and meditation. On top of this, subjects were part of an hour-long support session, which took place once a week.
Blood samples were taken after five years to assess telomere length and telomerase enzyme activity. These results were then compared to the subjects original baseline results.
Researchers saw demonstrable cellular changes in a group of 10 men who switched to a vegetarian diet and stuck to a recommended exercise and yoga plan.
The protective caps at the end of our chromosomes, called telomeres, appeared to have an effect on the aging process. Telomeres safeguard the end of the chromosome and prevent the loss of genetic information during cell division. As human beings age and our cells divide, telomeres get shorter. Their structural integrity weakens, telling cells to stop dividing - whereupon they die.
Telomere length was measured by the researchers at the beginning of the study; their length was tested again after five years. The men who made the lifestyle changes had increased telomere length by an average of 10 percent. The remaining 25 men who made no lifestyle changes had a decreased telomere length by an average of three percent.
While this has been found to be encouraging, researchers conclude that telomere length is likely not the only cause of aging or disease.
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