How Lifestyle Behaviors Impact The Aging Process

Researchers at the Center on Aging's Healthy and Independent Living Program recently looked at the link between lifestyle behaviors and the aging process. According to their findings, diet and exercise accelerate health problems like heart disease and diabetes complications.

The Study

Researchers looked at obese mice fed a high-fat, high cholesterol diet. They found the fat mass that collected around the organs caused serious health problems in the long run. The cell deterioration accelerated the aging process even more than suspected.

"And people need to remember that even though you don't have the diagnosis of diabetes or the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease or the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease today when you're in midlife, the biology underlying those processes is hard at work," warned study author Nathan LeBrasseur.

What's the Solution?

The damage can actually be reversed, and the key is exercise. Even mice eating the unhealthy diets would improve if given an exercise wheel, just by reducing the fat accumulation. The exercise helped protect them from the cell deterioration.

"Some of us believe that aging is just something that happens to all of us and it's just a predestined fate, and by the time I turn 65 or 70 or 80, I will have Alzheimer's disease and cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis," said LeBrasseur. "And this clearly shows the importance of modifiable factors of healthy diet, and even more so, just the importance of regular physical activity. So that doesn't mean that we need to be marathon runners, but we need to find ways to increase our habitual activity levels to stay healthy and prevent processes that drive aging and aging-related diseases."

Photo: Spark On It