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Exercise causes number of cell divisions to approach Hayflick limit faster? And hence shorten life expectancy?

Exercise causes number of cell divisions to approach Hayflick limit faster? And hence shorten life expectancy?


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A world class athlete spends a lot of time performing intense exercises. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume that these intense exercises causes significant damage to the athlete's cells, but with proper nutrition, they are able replenish these cells with stronger ones. This process of destroying and re-creating cells causes cell divisions to approach the Hayflick limit faster, and hence shorten the athlete's life expectancy.

I also heard that caloric intake causes the number of cell divisions to approach the Hayflick limit faster. World class athletes generally consume substantially more calories than the average individual, which also contributes to a shorter life expectancy.

So for this reason, is the life expectancy of world class athletes generally shorter than the average individual? And what about casual athletes?

Edit If world class athletes live longer lives than the average individual, why is this so despite performing activities that expedite the deterioration of telemeres, and hence, approach the Hayflick limit faster?


Following damage to muscle (e.g., as a result of strenuous activity) the injured fibers are removed (by immune cells) and then replaced by new myofibers (individual muscle cells that join to create new muscle tissue). This is why for a few days after exercise your muscles can be sore - it is the tissues being initially cleared of damaged cells and repaired.

Muscles, like other tissues, have resident stem cell populations ("satellite cells") that are used to replace damaged cells.

Stem cells have potentially indefinite replicative potential, as they express telomerase and thus do not have a traditional Hayflick limit.

  1. Volonte D, Liu Y, Galbiati F. The modulation of caveolin-1 expression controls satellite cell activation during muscle repair. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 2005 Feb;19(2):237-9.


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