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Being active can add years to your life no matter your genes, researchers say


Photo: adamkaz/iStockphoto

Adding physical activity to your daily routine could lead to a longer life – regardless of genetic predisposition, say researchers at the University of California, San Diego.

They analyzed data from a follow-up study of nearly 5,500 women 63 and older. The study called on participants to wear an accelerometer for up to seven days to gauge the time and intensity of their physical activity, as well as the time they spent sedentary.

Findings revealed that greater periods of light and moderate to vigorous physical activity lower the risk of early death, while higher sedentary time may increase that risk. “These associations persisted irrespective of one’s genetic predisposition for longevity,” the researchers write.

“Our study showed that even if you aren’t 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 sitting less,” said Aladdin Shadyab, lead study author and an assistant professor of public health and human longevity science at UCSD. “Conversely, even if your genes predispose you to a long life, remaining physically active is still important to achieve longevity.”

The study was published online in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity.

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