Sports Vs Nutrition: Which One Is More Important For Longevity?

By | December 18, 2022

We all want to live a long and quality life, to see how our daughters and sons grow up and get married, to travel and fulfill our dreams, and to see our grandchildren and maybe even great-grandchildren. Longevity experts, scientists, and doctors fully agree that nutrition and sports are the most important factors for long life.

But why? And, of course, which long life factor is more important: nutrition or sports? Keeping that in mind we are going to find which nutrition or physical activity is better when we are thinking about longevity. Also, together we are going to find arguments that will help to support our opinion.


How Do Sports Affect Our Longevity?

Sports affect telomeres that are related to the aging process. The longer telomeres are, the younger you look. Our cells have 46 chromosomes. Each chromosome has telomeres. Telomeres are DNA repeats located at the ends of chromosomes. As cells divide, telomeres eventually shorten and cells begin to “age.” So, every time our cells divide, a small portion of the telomeres is lost. Research shows that even low-intensity exercise in middle age can help reverse cellular aging.

Scientists have observed how sports affect the length of telomeres, in other words, the “caps” at the ends of chromosomes. Telomere length has long been associated with longevity. The researchers analyzed data and came to the conclusion that those engaged in at least one physical activity had 3 percent less likely to have shorter telomeres than those who do not exercise at all.


Scientifically Proven Facts Related to Exercising

Talking about sport and longevity, there are scientifically proven facts that physical activity prolongs lifespan for about 2-4 years but the link between them is still questionable today. One study concluded that the assumption that Olympians have a higher survival rate than the general population has not been confirmed.


How Does Proper Nutrition Affect Our Longevity?

Senescence is related to inflammation and free radicals that can form naturally in our bodies. What is the role of free radicals in the body? Free radicals are involved in the formation and presence of various substances in the body. In addition, they help the body protect itself from harmful substances from the environment. The body has enzyme systems that maintain the balance of free radicals. Various environmental factors can promote the formation of free radicals in the body – radiation, polluted air, cigarette smoke, alcohol, some medications, sunbathing, etc. In addition, stress is important for the formation of free radicals. Why are free radicals harmful to health?

Free radicals are harmful to health when there are too many of them in the body. In this case, the body’s defense mechanisms do not ensure their balance, the cells are damaged, which promotes various cardiovascular diseases, weakens the immune system, and accelerates the aging process.

According to numerous studies, a plant-based diet is also associated with lower levels of inflammation and free radicals. A plant-based diet is rich in antioxidants which can help lower levels of free radicals. Also, intermittent fasting reduces free radical levels in our bodies. The science behind it proves that intermittent fasting improves the immune system, fat metabolism, and brain function, and may even help prevent cancer.


Scientifically Proven Facts Related to Nutrition

  • Americans have a lower life expectancy than people in other rich countries. More than the one-third population is obese. The main reason for such a high obesity rate is fast food.
  • By the 2030s, Spain and France will be in the four top countries with the longest life expectancy. One of the reasons is the Mediterranean diet.
  • By the 2030s, South Korean women’s life expectancy will exceed 90 years due to daily intake of fermented vegetables, for instance, kimchi.
  • The Japanese have more than 70 thousand centenarians in their population. They chew slowly, eat in small bites, and consume a lot of rice, vegetables, and seafood.
  • Numerous studies with simple organisms, mice, and humans provide convincing evidence that a high-protein diet derived from animals promotes the aging process.
  • It is a scientifically proven fact that a healthy diet and good eating habits can prolong our life expectancy and add almost 10 years.


The Bottom Line

According to scientific facts today, nutrition has a major impact on longevity. Proper nutrition can add approximately 10 years to your lifespan while regular physical activity can add 2-4 years. However, longevity experts, doctors, and scientists suggest including both eating healthily and exercising regularly in your daily routine. 

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