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Proof That Intense Cardio May Help You Live Longer

By Michelle Vartan ; Updated August 14, 2017

If you knew that simply adding more cardio to your life would help you live longer, would you work out more?

A new study published in Science Advances shows that exercise endurance (a sexy term for intense cardio that increases your breathing and heart rate) may help keep our telomeres in tact. Telomeres are the protective “caps” on the ends of our DNA chromosomes which keep us young.

And just to underscore this study’s significance, as we age — and with added effects of stress and disease — our telomeres structures start to break down. So, finding ways to keep our telomeres long and strong give us a better chance of living a longer life.

To prove that exercise could add on years to our life, a research team had ten healthy and young volunteers cycle for 45 minutes. They found that the amount of telomere transcripts (which control telomeres) increased in volunteers post-workout.

The experiment results also support recent theories that exercise and diet (another potential influence on telomeres) could delay or reduce the effects of aging. (Wrinkle prevention? Sign me up!)

If you're interested in increasing your lifeline, add more endurance to your workout routine. Endurance exercise includes everything cardio — from swimming to dancing — at an intense level for extended periods of time (hello romp session!).

In addition to longevity, exercise also keeps us sharp as a whip, influencing everything from our brain’s blood flow to cognitive functioning. In fact, research shows that specific cardio strengthens specific mental functions. For example, ballroom dancing helps with memory, or Tai Chi can help with problem solving.

If this new research won’t get you to get out there to break a sweat, we don’t know what will.

What Do YOU Think?

Considering this new research, will you increase your cardio routine? What healthy things do you do in effort to live a long life? If you could live to any age, what would it be? Why?

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