In the New Parkinson’s Disease Treatment book, Dr. J. Eric Ahlskog, recommends aerobic exercise not just for Parkinson’s but to improve aging in general. He specifically states that exercise should raise your pulse, cause you to perspire, and tire you out.
I recently noticed more research that supports this idea. New research is showing that 30 minutes of intense exercise daily is connected with keeping you up to nine years biologically younger. It has to do with telomeres.
A telomere is the “endcap” of each of our chromosomes. They protect each chromosome from deterioration during cell division by absorbing the truncation that takes place during that process. In humans, average telomere length declines from about 11 kilobases when we are born to less than 4 kilobases when we are aged, probably because of oxidative stress or inflammation.
The good news is that we can change the truncation of our telomeres with 30 minutes of regular, hard exercise (40 minutes for men). It is doable. It has a demonstrable impact.
In Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari mentions that a hunter-gather before the Agricultural Revolution would have “had physical dexterity that people today are unable to achieve even after years of practicing yoga or t’ai chi.” One reason is that they moved so much more than we do.
In the spirit of my hunter-gather lineage, I ought to be able to fit in 30 minutes a day of hot, sweaty exercise, especially since I don’t have to chase down dinner while I do it.