Do Genetics or Physical Activity Play a Bigger Role in Longevity?

September 24, 2022 at 4:45 p.m.

A recent article in Health Digest by Brynna Standen asks the question, do genetics or physical activity play a bigger role in longevity? Is it our our lifestyle or the genes we’ve inherited that play a bigger role in whether or not we live longer?

The author says that when she read an account of a 101-year-old woman who swears that the secret to her longevity is laughter, cigarettes and fried chicken, her immediate thought was that good genes must be at play for that lucky centenarian.

On the other hand, a 2016 study published in Immunity and Aging found that only 25% of the variation in human longevity can be credited to genetic factors. “It’s not so cut and dry, though,” writes Standen.
 “Researchers suggest that epigenetic modification plays an essential role in the question of longevity.”

Epigenetics is the study of how our behaviors affect the way our genes function throughout our lifetime. Epigenetics means that some genes can be turned “off” and “on” as a result of our behavior.

A 2022 study published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity demonstrated that a sedentary lifestyle can decrease the odds of a long lifespan, even with great genes, while a longer life can be attained through physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices.

So the bottom line, states Standen, is that while some people hit the genetic lottery when it comes to longevity, “the rest of us can attain similar results through our lifestyle choices.”

RELATED: New Chapter offers these 22 Health and Wellness Tips for 2022 in this article:

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