The Fountain of Youth: The Secret to Staying Young

Dec 08, 2010
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The funny thing is that it’s been inside each of us all along. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have found that physical activity can help us look younger. They found that “endurance” exercises can unlock the stem cells in our muscles, resulting in a younger looking you.

This discovery helps to explain why older adults who have exercised for all or most of their lives tend to age more gracefully than their counterparts. The release of stem cells through physical activity allows older muscles to rejuvenate and this may bring hope for future drugs that may help the elderly and those with mobility issues where the muscles are primarily affected.

Prof. Dafna Benayahu explains how the muscles and skeletal system work together;

“When we age, we experience sarcopenia, a decline in mass and function of muscles, and osteopenia refers to bone loss,” she says. As a result, our musculoskeletal system is more susceptible to daily wear and tear, which also explains the increased risk of falling in the elderly.”

Endurance exercise also improves the levels of “spontaneous locomotion,” which is the feeling that tells out bodies just to get up and be active. Aging is commonly associated with decreased levels of spontaneous locomotion. The combination of aging and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a variety of other conditions including obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease as well as a decline in cognitive abilities. Imagine the impact it would have if we could find a way to boost and rejuvenate old muscles and increase the number of stem cells our active muscles release. Prof. Benayahu explains,

“With this advance, we can let ourselves dream about creating a new drug for humans — one that could increase muscle mass and ameliorate the negative effects of aging.”

Just another reason to get out there and be active your way.

Gabi Shefer, Gat Rauner, Zipora Yablonka-Reuveni, Dafna Benayahu, Gianni Parise. Reduced Satellite Cell Numbers and Myogenic Capacity in Aging Can Be Alleviated by Endurance Exercise. PLoS ONE, 2010; 5 (10): e13307 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013307

Author: Jennifer Green