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Endurance Exercise Thwarts Premature Aging in Mice

FRIDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Endurance exercise may be "the fountain of youth" -- or so a new study of mice suggests.

Canadian researchers found that endurance exercise offered protection against premature aging in mice genetically engineered to age faster than normal.

Mice who ran on a treadmill three times a week for five months looked as young as regular mice, while those who didn't exercise were graying, balding, socially isolated and less fertile, said the researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Many people falsely believe that the benefits of exercise will be found in a pill," principal investigator Mark Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics and medicine, said in a McMaster news release. "We have clearly shown that there is no substitute for the 'real thing' of exercise when it comes to protection from aging."

Tarnopolsky noted that other researchers "have tried to treat these animals with 'exercise pill' drugs and have even tried to reduce their caloric intake, a strategy felt to be the most effective for slowing aging, and these were met with limited success."

"Exercise truly is the fountain of youth," lead author Adeel Safdar, a senior Ph.D. student, said in the news release.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: McMaster University, news release, Feb. 21, 2011

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