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Physical Activity, Physical Fitness, and Leukocyte Telomere Length: The Cardiovascular Health Study.

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Soares-Miranda, Luisa 
Siscovick, David 
Jenny, Nancy Swords 
Fitzpatrick, Annette L 


INTRODUCTION: The influence of physical activity (PA) and physical fitness (PF) at older ages on changes in telomere length (TL)--repetitive DNA sequences that may mark biologic aging--is not well-established. Few prior studies (mainly cross-sectional) have been conducted in older adults, and few studies have evaluated PF. METHODS: We investigated cross-sectional and prospective associations of PA and PF with leukocyte TL among 582 older adults (mean ± SD age, 73 ± 5 yr at baseline) in the Cardiovascular Health Study, with serial TL measures and PA and PF assessed multiple times. Cross-sectional associations were assessed using multivariable repeated-measures regression, in which cumulatively averaged PA and PF measures were related to TL. Longitudinal analyses assessed cumulatively averaged PA and PF against later changes in TL, and changes in cumulatively averaged PA and PF against changes in TL. RESULTS: Cross-sectionally, greater walking distance and chair test performance, but not other PA and PF measures, were each associated with longer TL (P trend = 0.007 and 0.04, respectively). In longitudinal analyses, no significant associations of baseline PA and PF with change in TL were observed. In contrast, changes in leisure-time activity and chair test performance were each inversely associated with changes in TL. CONCLUSIONS: Cross-sectional analyses suggest that greater PA and PF are associated with longer TL. Prospective analyses show that changes in PA and PF are associated with differences in changes in TL. Even later in life, changes in certain PA and PF measures are associated with changes in TL, suggesting that leisure-time activity and fitness could reduce leukocyte telomere attrition among older adults.



Aged, Aging, Cross-Sectional Studies, Exercise Test, Female, Hand Strength, Humans, Leukocytes, Male, Motor Activity, Physical Fitness, Prospective Studies, Telomere Homeostasis, Walking

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Med Sci Sports Exerc

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Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/5)
This research was supported by contracts HHSN268201200036C, HHSN268200800007C, N01 HC55222, N01HC85079, N01HC85080, N01HC85081, N01HC85082, N01HC85083, N01HC85086, and grant U01HL080295 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), with additional contribution from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Additional support was provided by R01AG023629 the National Institute on Aging (NIA). A full list of principal CHS investigators and institutions can be found at Luisa Soares-Miranda is supported by the Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology (FCT), SFRH/BPD/76947/2011, PTDC/DES/099018/2008 - FCT/FCOMP-01- 0124-FEDER-009573, and The Research Centre in Physical Activity Health and Leisure is supported by UID/DTP/00617/2013. Dr Imamura received support from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit Core Support (MC_UU_12015/5).