Exercise Really Is a Fountain of Youth, New Study Shows

Here, the science-backed reason to stick to your workout schedule this week.

The key to keeping your cells looking nice and young? It looks like exercise might just be the answer, my friends. As TIME reports, a new study published in Preventive Medicine found that participants who exercised most had biological aging markers that were significantly younger than their sedentary peers. Nine years younger (!!), to be exact. 

The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), followed nearly 6,000 adults over a few years, surveying their exercise habits as well as examining their telomeres, which are protein caps located at the end of DNA strands and happen to be stellar indicators of aging and health. Telomeres shrink with age, and those who have shorter telomeres are generally more likely to develop chronic disease and die sooner. But the good news: After controlling for things that could affect signs of cellular aging, like smoking, obesity, alcohol use and more, the researchers found that the study participants who exercised the most — that would be the equivalent of 30 to 40 minutes of running five days a week, so 150 to 200 minutes of vigorous exercise per week — still showed about nine fewer years of cellular aging when it came to their telomeres than those who were sedentary.

So all you dedicated runners out there probably have some PYT (that’s pretty young thang, obviously) cells. Researchers were surprised to find that there was a notable difference in cellular aging between the “top-tier” exercise group and those who were categorized as moderate exercisers — a full seven years, actually. Though, of course, there are still plenty of health and aging benefits of moderate activity. (Like boosting your mood, for one.)

If you’re in more of the sedentary camp, we have plenty of ideas to get you moving: First off, know that HIIT is quite the anti-aging gem; here are five water workouts to do around Philly; you’re definitely going to want to come to Be Well Philly Boot Camp on June 3rd, and here’s a rooftop yoga class for you to head to this week!

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