I just learned a new word: autophagy. It comes from the Greek for “self-eating”. Before your mind jumps to narcissistic cannibals, I should explain that this is body’s mechanism for dealing with worn out or malformed proteins. Basically, they are broken down for scrap and recycled. You are probably wondering why I am going on about this. Well, it has to do with staying young and the amazing powers of exercise.
Everyone knows exercise is good for you and that it becomes especially important to incorporate it into our lives, but science has never really understood why. Then very recently, a Dr Beth Levine at the University of Texas discovered that when she put mice on a treadmill, the number of autophagosomes in their muscles increased.
Autophagy has become a sexy topic in the annals of medicine. This internal recycling mechanism that we have can fight bacterial infections and slow the onset neurological conditions such as Alzneimer’s. And it may, all you fellow wrinkle warriors will be delighted to know, slow the process of aging.
Worn out and dodgy mitochondria may, the theory goes, be disposed of by the autophagy process and getting rid of them reduces free radical production. This, in turn, could slow down aging.
Dr Levine is convinced enough by her own research to have invested in a treadmill. If you still need a little more inspiration, watch this video where I give a run down of the Bar Method DVDs. You can do these at home in your own time, as I do. And I guarantee that you can change your body shape and look great with these workouts at any age. I can’t guarantee that you’ll live longer, but Burr Leonard the creator of the Bar Method (exclusively available in the TIA shop), is 63 going on 43, so we may just be on to something.
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