Turns out you can run faster than you bad genes.
Exercise can beat genetics even if you’re not likely to live long, dispelling the age-old reason that bad genes are to blame for shorter life spans, according to new research from the University of California San Diego.
While certain individuals are genetically predisposed to live longer than others, the research team at UCSD looked at whether these people could lead a more stagnant lifestyle and still live longer than others. They published their findings in “Journal of Aging and Physical Activity” this month.
“The aim of this study was to understand whether the relationship between physical activity and settling time with mortality varying based on different levels of genetic predisposition to longevity,” Alexander Posis, lead study author at the San Diego State University/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health, said in a press release.
Researchers started the study in 2012 and tracked physical activity and lifestyle habits among 5,446 women aged 63 or older through 2020. Each wore a device to measure how often they moved, how intense the movement was. physical activity that and how much time it is spend time sitting.
They found higher levels of light to moderate and vigorous exercise were associated with a reduced risk of death over the tracked period. What’s more, they found those who spent more time in an inactive state had a higher risk of death.
The key finding was that the link between exercise and living longer was evident even with women who were found to have different levels of genetic predisposition to longevity.
“Even if you’re not likely to live long based on your genes, you can still extend your lifespan by engaging in positive lifestyle behaviors such as regular exercise and less sedentary life,” said senior author Aladdin H. Shadyab, Ph.D., assistant professor at Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at UC San Diego. “In contrast, even if your genes predispose you to longevity, staying physically active is still important for achieving longevity.”
The authors suggested in the study that older women should participate in physical activity “of any intensity to reduce the risk of disease and premature death.”