Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine ( 2015 ) 14 , 239 - 245

Research article
Effect of Intensive Exercise in Early Adult Life on Telomere Length in Later Life in Men
Merja K. Laine1,2, , Johan G. Eriksson1,3-6, Urho M. Kujala7, Rahul Raj8, Jaakko Kaprio9-11, Heli M. Bäckmand8,12, Markku Peltonen3, Seppo Sarna9
Author Information
1 Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
10 Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
11 Institute for Molecular Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
12 City of Vantaa, Health and Social Welfare Department, Finland
2 Vantaa Health Center/Network of Academic Health Centers, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
3 Division of Welfare and Health Promotion Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, Diabetes Prevention Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
4 Folkhälsan Research Centre, Helsinki, Finland
5 Unit of General Practice, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
6 Vaasa Central Hospital, Vaasa, Finland
7 Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
8 Department of Neurosurgery, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
9 Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Merja K. Laine
✉ Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki, Tukholmankatu 8 B, 00290 Helsinki, Finland.
Email: merja.k.laine@helsinki.fi
Publish Date
Received: 26-11-2014
Accepted: 20-01-2015
Published (online): 01-06-2015
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ABSTRACT

A career as an elite-class male athlete seems to improve metabolic heath in later life and is also associated with longer life expectancy. Telomere length is a biomarker of biological cellular ageing and could thus predict morbidity and mortality. The main aim of this study was to assess the association between vigorous elite-class physical activity during young adulthood on later life leukocyte telomere length (LTL). The study participants consist of former male Finnish elite athletes (n = 392) and their age-matched controls (n = 207). Relative telomere length was determined from peripheral blood leukocytes by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Volume of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) was self-reported and expressed in metabolic equivalent hours. No significant difference in mean age-adjusted LTL in late life (p = 0.845) was observed when comparing former male elite athletes and their age-matched controls. Current volume of LTPA had no marked influence on mean age-adjusted LTL (p for trend 0.788). LTL was inversely associated with age (p = 0.004).Our study findings suggest that a former elite athlete career is not associated with LTL later in life.

Key words: Aging, athlete, DNA repeats, physical activity


           Key Points
  • A career as an elite-class athlete is associated with improved metabolic health in late life and is associated with longer life expectancy.
  • A career as an elite-class athlete during young adulthood was not associated with leukocyte telomere length in later life.
  • Current volume of leisure-time physical activity did not influence telomere length in later life.
 
 
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