Can healthy living counteract the aging effects of stress? That’s the question that a recent study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry set out to answer. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, studied the habits of 239 women between the age of 50 and 65 for a year and reached the conclusion that maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and sleeping well could reduce the effects of aging at the cellular level.
Few parts of the body are more connected to aging than the telomeres at the end of human chromosomes. The protective cell structures capping each coil of DNA degrade and shorten slightly each time a cell divides, and scientists believe that the length of the telomeres serves as an index to the aging process.
The researchers took blood samples from the participants at the beginning of the year-long study and again at the end. The study found a shortening of telomere length for each major stressor that occurring during the year. The women who maintained relatively high levels of healthy behaviors, however, had significantly less telomere shortening than those who didn’t. While other studies have found links between telomere lengths and lifestyles, this study was the first to identify changes in length over such a short period.
Hope for Aging Adults
Although telomeres are only one part of the story when it comes to aging, the study suggests that healthy behaviors can help increase longevity, even when people are under stress in the later stages of life. Some of the stressors that participants in the study encountered were caregiving, losing a job, going through a divorce and the death of a loved one. Staying physically active, eating well and getting a good night’s sleep can help older adults manage stress and live longer and healthier lives.
At Home Care Assistance of Albuquerque, it’s our mission to help change the way the world ages, providing seniors with the in-home care and support they need to enjoy a higher quality of life. Along with meeting the physical needs of our clients, we provide a high level of companionship that helps to foster meaningful relationships and peace of mind.
For more information about how our hourly and live-in Albuquerque caregivers could help your aging parent or loved one remain independent and safe at home, contact a friendly Care Manager at 505-798-0800. We’re available 24/7 to answer questions and can help you schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to further discuss individual care needs.