Elderly women who sit for more than 10 hours a day with low physical activity have cells that are biologically older by eight years compared to women who are less sedentary, a new study has found.
Researchers from University of California (UC) found that women who have a sedentary lifestyle have cells that are biologically older and invite cardiovascular diseases and diabetes as compared to women who are active and exercise regularly.
"Our study found cells age faster with a sedentary lifestyle. Chronological age doesn't always match biological age," said lead researcher Aladdin Shadyab from UC.
Elderly women with less than 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day and who remain sedentary for more than 10 hours per day have shorter telomeres — tiny caps found on the ends of DNA strands that protect chromosomes from deterioration and progressively shorten with age.
As a cell ages, its telomeres naturally shorten and fray and make a body prone to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and major cancers.
"We found that women who sat longer did not have shorter telomere length if they exercised for at least 30 minutes a day, the national recommended guideline," said Shadyab in a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.