Get away from your desk – or die young

Scientists have found sedentary people seem to age faster than active ones. It’s not just that you’re not doing enough exercise to prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and obesity – there is something going on in your cells.

Researchers studied DNA taken from the white blood cells of 2400 British twins, and compared this to information from a questionnaire about activity levels, according to a report in The Australian newspaper.

The researchers measured the length of structures called “telomeres”, repetitive strips of DNA that shorten each time a cell divides.

The least active twins had shorter telomeres. The most active twins had telomeres the same length as sedentary people up to 10 years younger on average.