Are Treadmills the Fountain of Youth?
Maybe, according to a study at McMaster University School of Medicine in Canada. At least running on one for forty-five minutes three times a week is, if you’re a mouse.
The Treadmill Study
The mice that used the treadmill in the study experienced significantly less obesity and type 2 diabetes than those that didn’t. Not only that, but those that didn’t use the treadmill experienced a greater frequency and degree of osteoporosis. All this according to this study, headed by Dr. Mack Tamopolsky and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study was made possible by genetically engineering mice with a defect that prevents mitochondria from repairing correctly. The mice with this defect regularly and predictably develop many of the symptoms of aging, such as osteoporosis, cataracts, and hearing loss. However, when these mice were then put on the treadmill routine for five months, the results were more impressive than many would have thought. In addition to the protective benefits on muscle and respiratory system, the treadmill mice experienced almost complete protection from brain atrophy, gonadal atrophy, and anemia. So it seems that exercise has an effect on cells in many locations in the body, not just specific parts that are more apparently being used during exercise.
Mice with the same genetic defect had been used in similar trials to test the effects of calorie restriction and several drugs, but these studies did not produce significant results, so the McMaster study’s methodology and procedures were already well accepted. Still to be researched and understood are the chemical and molecular mechanisms that provide these results. The McMaster researchers hypothesize that there may be proteins released from the muscle as a result of exercise that are released into the blood and carried to cells throughout the body.