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Exercise and Aging

Let’s dig a little deeper into how exercise can “hack” the aging process. Our DNA controls cellular age. As cells divide, the aging process moves forward – until they no longer divide. During cell division, copies of DNA and sections of chromosomes known as “telomeres” become shorter. Telomeres are protective capsules at the end of each strand of DNA. Their duty is to protect our chromosomes from damage. To visualize how this works, think of the plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces. When they fall off or wear out, shoelaces begin to fray. Without telomeres, the same thing happens to our cells. They provide a shield for our DNA strands, protecting them from damage and allowing the cells to function.

A recently discovered compound called Nuclear Respiratory Factor (NRF1) is responsible for protecting telomeres from getting shorter. Researchers discovered that exercise boosts levels of NRF1, keeping the telomeres from being cut off. Every time you perform moderate exercise, you are replacing new protective molecules on the telomeres over and over again. Every time you perform even a 20-minute session of moderate exercise, your body receives a refreshing tune-up, allowing cells to function better. Scientists have discovered that these amazing changes occur even in people who do not exercise often – just keep in mind that the more you exercise, the more NRF1 is released, continuing to protect telomeres from shrinking, and providing your body with a more frequent “tune up.”

At Acacia Creek, a Masterpiece Living Certified Center for Successful Aging, and retirement community, we believe that exercise is an important part of all wellness categories – intellectual, social, physical, and purposeful. Exercise is a great solution for aging successfully and feeling young – and it has science to back it up! This remedy for successful aging is free, available anywhere, and some form of it is right for everyone.


By Yanasa Williams, Exercise Physiologist


Acacia Creek Retirement Community inspires residents to live an active, meaningful life. Our mission as a senior community is to enrich the independence, well-being, and security of our residents through exceptional services and care based on Masonic values.

To learn more about Acacia Creek or our senior housing opportunities, visit us at

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