Researchers declare exercise as a secret of staying young for a longer time

The local market may be full of all kinds of drugs that promise to bring your youthful days back but researchers say that something as simple as exercise may be able to help you retain the youthful exuberance.

A recent study that the University of Colorado, Boulder conducted found that levels of energy expenditure varied greatly among people who walked and who ran. Those who ran several times a week tended to expend as much amount of energy as a healthy 20 year old. Those who just walked were compared to expending energy equal to a sedentary adult walking.

Why does this happen? The researchers explained that strenuous exercises or those which increase oxygen demand of the body lead to development of more mitochondria. The mitochondria are what metabolize glucose and oxygen to produce energy for the cells. The energy required by the muscles and other cells is in the form of chemical Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). So when numerous mitochondria are present in the cells, the demand is adequately met by supply.

“The bottom line is that running keeps you younger, at least in terms of energy efficiency,” said CU-Boulder Associate Professor Rodger Kram of the Department of Integrative Physiology, a co-author of the study.

The research included 30 adult volunteers of an average age of 69. Male to female ratio was equal. All of the volunteers either ran or walked regularly. This was a routine workout regimen that spanned over 6 months and all volunteers had to go through the planned exercises at least thrice every week.  The session included a force measuring tread mill that worked on three levels of speed. The researchers used this time to investigate about the level of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.

“It was surprising to find that older adults who regularly run for exercise are better walkers than older adults who regularly walk for exercise,” said CU-Boulder graduate student Owen Beck, who participated in the study. “The take-home message of the study is that consistently running for exercise seems to slow down the aging process and allows older individuals to move more easily, improving their independence and quality of life.”

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