Effects of Competitive Triathlon Training on Telomere Length

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Telomeres act as a mitotic clock and telomere-related senescence has been linked to age-related physiological decline. There is increasing evidence lifestyle factors can influence telomere length (TL). The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of competitive triathlon training on TL. Seven competitive male triathletes and seven recreationally active males participated in the study. Relative TL was measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Physiological parameters key to athletic performance such as maximal oxygen intake, lactate threshold, and running economy were also measured. Triathletes had longer telomeres than the recreationally active (1.257 ± 0.028 vs. 1.002 ± 0.014; p < .0001). Positive association was found between TL and maximal oxygen intake, lactate threshold, and running economy (R2 = .677, .683, and .696, respectively). This study indicates that competitive triathlon training buffers against age-related telomere shortening, and there is a correlation between exercise behaviors, higher maximal oxygen intake, and TL.

Colon and Murphy are with Mitochondrial Biology and Radiation Research Centre, Institute of Technology Sligo, Sligo, Ireland. Colon, Donlon, and Murphy are with the Dept. of Life Sciences, Institute of Technology Sligo, Sligo, Ireland. Hodgson is with Sligo University Hospital, Sligo, Ireland.

Address author correspondence to James E.J. Murphy at murphy.james@itsligo.ie.
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