Meditate to Slow Down Aging
Elizabeth Blackburn, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, discovered an enzyme called telomerase that can protect and rebuild telomeres. Telomeres dwindle over time, and when they get too short, cells begin to malfunction and lose their ability to divide -- something now recognized as a key process in aging. Now she is wondering how to protect them. A pilot study of dementia caregivers published in 2013, found that volunteers who did an ancient chanting meditation 12 minutes a day for eight weeks, had significantly higher telomerase activity than a control group who listened to relaxing music.
Theories are that meditation most likely reduces stress. The slow, regular breathing, may relax us physically by calming the fight-or-flight response.
Another study of 239 healthy women found that those whose minds wandered less had significantly longer telomeres than those whose thoughts raced.
A greater presence of mind may promote cell longevity.
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