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Data from more than 405,000 British people revealed those who walked more quickly had more of the DNA that reduces ageing. Researchers from the University of Leicester looked at data from the UK Biobank of half a million people.
They compared genetic information with self-reported walking speeds and measurements from wearable tracking devices.
Those who were more active had longer telomeres – DNA caps at the end of chromosomes that give protection.
Lead study author Dr Paddy Dempsey said: “Measures such as a habitually slower walking speed are a simple way of identifying people at greater risk of chronic disease or unhealthy ageing, and activity intensity may play an important role.”
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