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A healthy lifestyle 'could buffer against stress'

A new study has highlighted the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce stress and battle cell aging in the body.

Research carried out by scientists at UC San Francisco (UCSF) has highlighted how the negative effects of stress on the body could be counteracted by individuals enjoying a fit and varied lifestyle, containing regular exercise, good sleep patterns and a healthy diet.

The research focused on measuring the lengths of the protective caps found on chromosomes known as telomeres. As individuals age and during periods of considerable stress, these telomeres can shorten, leading to a degradation in cell lifespan and an increase in the likelihood of developing a range of conditions as they get older - such as stroke, vascular dementia, cardiovascular disease, obesity and osteoporosis.

However, the findings of the study revealed that this action was less pronounced in people who maintained a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, as it measured the length of telomeres in participants as they embarked on the study and then again one year later.

During this period they were asked to document their lifestyle and any key stressors, such as job losses or bereavement, while activities like smoking, exercise and eating and sleeping patterns were also recorded.

Stressful events are known to increase the rate of cell aging, but in those individuals who were shown to be more active and outgoing, this rate was lower than those who led more introverted lives.

Lead author Eli Puterman, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at UCSF, commented: "The study participants who exercised, slept well and ate well had less telomere shortening than the ones who didn't maintain healthy lifestyles, even when they had similar levels of stress.

"It's very important that we promote healthy living, especially under circumstances of typical experiences of life stressors like death, caregiving and job loss."

She added that the results are an important step towards better understanding how cell aging affects our overall level of wellbeing.

"This is the first study that supports the idea, at least observationally, that stressful events can accelerate immune cell aging in adults, even in the short period of one year," Ms Puterman concluded.

"Exciting, though, is that these results further suggest that keeping active, and eating and sleeping well during periods of high stress are particularly important to attenuate the accelerated aging of our immune cells."

Individuals hoping to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle might like to invest in oxygen equipment for their home. Taking deep breaths of this natural gas could help them to relax more fully, ensuring they are able to get to sleep more easily and have less stress during the day.

Posted by Stewart ElliottADNFCR-2960-ID-801739202-ADNFCR

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