Are You Out-Running Old Age or Allowing It to Catch Up with You?
By Julie Morris, R.N. –
I always said that exercising helped me to out-run old age, but now I am beginning to understand why!
News came out recently of a study by Dr. Beth Levine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She is studying the health benefits of exercise on mice and discovered this important fact: exercising increases the body’s ability to get rid of trash.
All of us have trash caused by broken-down cells that needs to be removed. This trash-removal process is called autophagy (aw-TAH-fa-gee). Autophagy may also help protect us against cancer, infection and other diseases.
Just as your car gets dings and the tires wear out, the structures inside of our cells wear out and need to be replaced. Autophagy collects these worn-out pieces and wraps them in a membrane. Then it carries them to a tiny spot inside the cell, called a lysosome, where there are recycled and digested into reusable products. Bottom line: out with the old–on with the new.
Dr. Levine’s studies have concentrated on autophagy in mice, but it’s a good bet that this process is the same in humans. Let’s look at one of her test results.
She discovered that mice that were fed high-fat diets to create diabetes associated with obesity were able to reverse their diabetes when they exercised daily for eight weeks. She found that mice that exercised for 30 minutes on a treadmill increased their autophagy 40-50 percent. Those that ran 80 minutes increased their autophagy 100 percent. Those that didn’t exercise were not able to induce autophagy and were unable to reverse their diabetes.
Dr. Levine and other researchers feel that these results have implications beyond the effect of exercise on diabetes. They speculate that autophagy may represent a cellular mechanism that prolongs life and protects against disease.
If spending 30 minutes or more a day will make me healthier and help me to out-run old age, I’m going to do it! How about you?