A study on 1500 women age 64 to 95 have found that those who spend sitting for more than 10 hours with exercise for less than 40 minutes a day have cells that are biologically eight years older. Normally as people age, the cells get older causing telomeres to get shorter and more frayed, but researchers have found that the women, with an average age of 79, have greater degree of damage to their cells if they lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Leading a sedentary lifestyle is known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Researchers suggest at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as cycling or walking, every week, and strength exercises on two or more days a week should be enough to undo the damage. Aladdin Shadyab, lead author of the study, says in a news release that in the future, they will examine “how exercise relates to telomere length in younger populations and in men.”

Reference: Associations of Accelerometer-Measured and Self-Reported Sedentary Time With Leukocyte Telomere Length in Older Women – American Journal of Epidemiology