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Exercise and telomere lengthening

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 15, 2012 at 2:13 AM

Having been a lifelong health nut involved in weighttraining(15 years) and shorter duration conventional gym cardio(elliptical trainers, treadmills, etc.) I had stumbled upon information by Dr.K amongst others that claimed "endurance exercise" decreased telomere length and that Lance Armstrong(a notable representative of the cardio crowd) was a case in point of the deleterious health conseqeunces of long duration cardio.

My question is this: What amount of endurance exercise if any should one involve oneself in? What length should the sessions be and what intensity(% of HRM or RPE?)? I find that now, walking for 2x30 minute sessions per day(usually every 12 hours approx.) that I don't have the 'wind' I used to doing intense 30 minute sessions on an elliptical trainer. ALso I have forgone the act of sweating(walking can be hard to work up a sweat..) which I feel beneficially serves to detoxify the body.

I have read that sprinting is recommended but have an aversion to the act. I prefer a jog-trot or steady run. Why would doing endurance exercise have this effect? Would walking to this extent be better substituted with a few sprints?

Researchers in Homburg, Germany showed that 50-year-old men who ran more than 50 miles per week at a fast pace had telomeres (chromosome caps) that were almost the same length as those of 20-year-old runners on the German National Team, and more than 40 percent longer than those or inactive men of the same age Assuming this data has anything to say about endurance exercise would it be wise to speed up the pace a little?? Who out there opines that endurance exercise is beneficial and who doesn't? Why?

With regard to weight-training: What amount should be done(based on peoples experience and in light of their research)? I have been doing a steady 6 out of 7 sessions per week and have experienced no problems as yet. Should I increase them maybe and simply keep the sets and reps lower but on balance increasing volume? What do YOU do for weight-training?

Medium avatar

(8239)

on January 15, 2012
at 05:43 PM

Right on, NP. Our ancestors kicked ass to survive and to thrive. Very little chance they ended the day saying "let's go run 10 miles fast, then spend an hour lifting heavy stuff, just to stay *in shape*."

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on January 15, 2012
at 06:16 AM

Why, even Ray Peat agrees with me! http://www.dannyroddy.com/main/2011/12/29/ray-peats-brain-building-a-foundation-for-better-understandi.html

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on January 15, 2012
at 06:01 AM

Of course you can train 5-6 days per week. But Paleos would not have done something that wasn't necessary for survival. We're talking about something that was invented by modern men: exercising for fitness to escape the bane of modernity ... since we no longer hunt, fish nor farm, not everyone, for survival. That's why exercising is "hormetic": too much of it is harmful, just like running 8 miles per day just about everyday of the week could inevitably lead to injury and infirmity.

60af23519906aa54b742ffc17477c3d3

(1186)

on January 15, 2012
at 05:49 AM

It always leaves a bad taste in my mouth when people say "you can't train 5-6 times per week". Did the cavemen take days off from hunting, building shelter or finding water because they worried they would "create inflammation"? No rest for the wicked. Eat well, drink up, sleep lots. Your body is good at this.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 15, 2012
at 03:42 AM

"I would like to see a cite for the claim that the telomeres of those who do endurance exercises are equivalent to 20 year olds." This as well for me if you could provide it MM.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 15, 2012
at 03:38 AM

By the way this is like at least 6 questions in a huge battle...if you want better/more responses try to limit this to ONE true question.

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2 Answers

1
3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

on January 15, 2012
at 03:21 AM

If you're running 50 miles per week, that translates to 8.3 miles per day, assuming you rest 1 day per week. 8.3 miles per day is 33.3 times around a quarter mile track. It's an endurance distance. If you try to run fast, you'll suffer later. At a 7 minute per mile pace (which is pretty fast), it will take almost an hour to complete the distance.

First, those who're doing 8.3 miles per day must have a lot of time to exercise. Second, someone who does that everyday could have significant, systemic inflammation throughout his body. Third, those who run that type of distance could run into frequent injuries involving knees, shin splints, tendons, sprains, etc.

I would like to see a cite for the claim that the telomeres of those who do endurance exercises are equivalent to 20 year olds.

Why not lift weights every other day or every day if you have to (alternating upper and lower bodies). Then do moderate cardios like your interval training or distances up to 2 miles per day, either running or on the elliptical or on a quick pace? Much easier on the body, much less inflammation and a much quicker workout. I work full time yet I exercise just about everyday but for no more than 45 minutes. I get my entire weightlifting routines done in 30 minutes and do 15 minutes of light cardio to cool down.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on January 15, 2012
at 06:16 AM

Why, even Ray Peat agrees with me! http://www.dannyroddy.com/main/2011/12/29/ray-peats-brain-building-a-foundation-for-better-understandi.html

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on January 15, 2012
at 06:01 AM

Of course you can train 5-6 days per week. But Paleos would not have done something that wasn't necessary for survival. We're talking about something that was invented by modern men: exercising for fitness to escape the bane of modernity ... since we no longer hunt, fish nor farm, not everyone, for survival. That's why exercising is "hormetic": too much of it is harmful, just like running 8 miles per day just about everyday of the week could inevitably lead to injury and infirmity.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 15, 2012
at 03:42 AM

"I would like to see a cite for the claim that the telomeres of those who do endurance exercises are equivalent to 20 year olds." This as well for me if you could provide it MM.

Medium avatar

(8239)

on January 15, 2012
at 05:43 PM

Right on, NP. Our ancestors kicked ass to survive and to thrive. Very little chance they ended the day saying "let's go run 10 miles fast, then spend an hour lifting heavy stuff, just to stay *in shape*."

60af23519906aa54b742ffc17477c3d3

(1186)

on January 15, 2012
at 05:49 AM

It always leaves a bad taste in my mouth when people say "you can't train 5-6 times per week". Did the cavemen take days off from hunting, building shelter or finding water because they worried they would "create inflammation"? No rest for the wicked. Eat well, drink up, sleep lots. Your body is good at this.

0
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 15, 2012
at 03:04 AM

I do one very HIT resistance exercise a week and 1-2 HIIT sprint type workout a week. Plenty of other low level stuff that like parking far away, taking the stairs, walking to work or store, wrestling the kids, trampoline for fun, back yard games, blah blah....you get the picture. I like to keep actual formalized "workouts" short and intense (no longer than 15-20 minutes) and provide plenty of normaly DLA movement.

I didn't answer the exact "whys" of sprinting HIIT or HIT because I'm too lazy at the time, but there are plenty of resources in that regards. Get up and off your arse as much as you can and you will see health benefits in my view.

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