The study which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology infers that people who sit for more than ten hours a day develop cells that are biologically older by eight years than their actual age.
1,500 women between ages 64 and 95 were asked to fill some questionnaires and wear a device for seven days to track their activity levels.
The results showed that the women who were immobile for most of the day and got little exercise had cells that were biologically older by eight years than their actual age.
Aladdin Shadyab, lead author from the University of California, San Diego’s School of Medicine said, “Our study found cells age faster with a sedentary lifestyle. Chronological age doesn’t always match biological age”.
“Discussions about the benefits of exercise should start when we are young, and physical activity should continue to be part of our daily lives as we get older, even at 80 years old,” he advised.
Women who sat for longer hours and don’t engage in daily physical exercise, he said, had shorter telomeres (a region at the end of the chromosomes that protects it from deterioration or from fusion with other chromosomes).
Telomeres grow shorter with age but its shortness can be hastened by factors like obesity and smoking.
“We found that women who sat longer did not have shorter telomere length if they exercised for at least 30 minutes a day, the national recommended guideline,” Shadyab said.