Good activity levels override bad genes

More good news – especially for post-menopausal women! Here’s the bottom line:

A new research paper examined the relationship between physical activity, sedentary time, and mortality risk among older women, and whether this relationship is affected by genetic predisposition for longevity. The study used data from the Objective Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health cohort of postmenopausal women aged ≥63 years. The findings suggest that even in genetically predisposed women, a physically active lifestyle reduces mortality risk, indicating the importance of engaging in PA to achieve healthy aging.

Here are the details:

This study examined the relationship between physical activity (PA), sedentary time (ST), and mortality risk in older women, and how this relationship may be influenced by genetic factors related to longevity. The study used data from the Objective Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health (OPACH) cohort, which is a group of over 7,000 postmenopausal women aged 63 years and older who were enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) in the United States.

Participants in the OPACH cohort were given an accelerometer to wear over their right hip for 24 hours a day for 7 consecutive days, except when bathing or swimming. The accelerometer data were used to measure time spent in light physical activity, moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and sedentary time. The study analyzed the relationship between these behaviors and all-cause mortality over a mean follow-up period of 6.1 years.

The study also looked at genetic factors related to longevity by using a weighted genetic risk score (GRS). Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified multiple single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with longevity, and the GRS was used to quantify the genetic predisposition for greater longevity in the study participants.

The results showed that higher levels of MVPA were associated with lower mortality risk, even below the recommended amount of 150 minutes per week for older adults. Higher levels of sedentary time were associated with higher mortality risk. These associations did not vary significantly by a genetic predisposition for longevity, indicating that physical activity and reducing sedentary time are important for healthy aging regardless of genetic factors.

Overall, this research provides further support for the importance of engaging in physical activity and reducing sedentary time in promoting healthy aging in older women. It also highlights the importance of considering genetic factors related to longevity in understanding the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and mortality risk.

What to do?

It doesn’t take much! Another study, looking to find the bare minimum of physical activity required to prevent the well-documented ill effects of continuous sitting determined that 5 minutes of walking every half hour was enough.

“We found that a 5-minute light walk every half-hour was the only strategy that reduced blood sugar levels substantially compared with sitting all day,” Diaz wrote in The Conversation.

“In particular, 5-minute walks every half-hour reduced the blood sugar spike after eating by almost 60%, [and] that strategy also reduced blood pressure by four to five points compared with sitting all day.”

Furthermore, multi-day bouts of prolonged sitting creates an “exercise resistance” that can render even something like a 60-minute moderate-intensity run meaningless in terms of its improvement for cardio-metabolic health.

Solution: Stop sitting for long periods of time by breaking it up with activity, and exercise more! The X Gym’s 21-minute, twice-a-week workout is equal to about 7 hours/week of traditional training, so if you need a time hack, this is it!