Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, and it is believed that they can affect how quickly cells age and die.   These telomeres shorten with time, and the shorter telomeres are generally associated with illness, cancer, and other disease.  So it is not surprising that scientists all over the world are obsessed with trying to determine what can lengthen these telomeres.

In January, 2015 Stanford University School of Medicine researchers are exploring treatments to artificially “lengthen” telomeres.  This treatment, if successful, could have potential for benefits with anti-aging, anti-disease, anti-cancer, and general health for those elite that can pay for it in the future.

But what about the rest of us?  What options do we have? 

  • Meditation: It is widely known to yogis and yoginis that deep meditation naturally increases the length of our telomeres.  I often thought it was the ONLY way to lengthen them for years.
  • Exercise: It is now believed that vigorous exercise (studies cite running 50 miles/week) may also increase these telomeres.  Another school of thought is that exercise doesn’t increase the length of the telomeres; however it increases the amount of telomerase, a cellular enzyme that might help lengthen and protect telomeres.  In either event REGULAR physical activity seems to help with telomerase production.
  • Diet: It is generally accepted in the health coaching industry that a specific diet high in (G.O.M.B.B.S.) greens, onions, mushrooms, beans, berries, and seeds and is plant-based seems to be anti-aging, anti-disease, and boost immunity.

I believe all three of these lifestyle options impact the length your telomeres (directly or indirectly).  As we chronologically age however, I don’t advocate starting vigorous exercise in our later years for our bones, and joints.  If athletes have been running 50 miles/week since their younger years and they want to continue, that is great.  I would say it may be the most important activity they are doing for their longevity.  However for the rest of us, there may be other more important activities / options for our longevity like meditation & diet.  Daily meditation is the free option which everyone has access to… you only need a small piece of ground to sit on and still your mind while shifting focus internally.  Diet is a great option also, however access to pure, whole foods (non-GMO, organic) is not always easy.  In our rushed pace of life, fast-food is taking over our nourishment; and this is not the best we can do.

This is why I strongly advocate everyone taking 10-15 minutes out of our daily mornings, and self-pampering our minds, hearts, and telomeres with deep meditation – at any age!

How do you lengthen your telomeres?