Aerobic exercise, such as running, swimming, and cycling can reverse biological ageing, but strength training has little effect, a study suggests.
Scientists monitor how quickly the body is age by studying the protective caps on the end of chromosomes – known as telomeres – which keep DNA intact and repair systems functioning well.
As humans age telomeres get shorter eventually causing cell death and disease. But a new study by Leipzig University, found in Germany, found that after six months of regular aerobic exercise telomeres had lengthened by 3.5 per cent. In contrast people doing weight training saw no lengthening.
The scientists think the endurance training may be the long journeying and fight or flight behaviour of our ancestors.
Those participating in 45 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week also had three times more telomerase, an enzyme that keeps telomeres long and healthy, compared to those taking part in resistance training.