Telo-what?!* Super over-simplified: Telomeres help recreate a healthy copy of "you." Telomeres protect the end of your DNA chromosome from deteriorating. Each time your DNA is replicated (new cells are made) telomere material can be lost so that each "copy" of you progressively gets worse (aging) - like copying a copy of a copy over time. In humans, average telomere length declines from about 11 kilobases at birth to less than four in old age, with average rate of decline being greater in men than in women.
Nobel Prize winner Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn who discovered telomerase, an enzyme that restores telomeres, notes in her new book "The Telomere Effect" that chronic stress, poor diet and lack of good sleep accelerates the loss of telomeres - aka aging. That includes everything from what we can see on the outside such as wrinkles - to the inside and disease progression. The GREAT NEWS? Some of the strongest anti-aging (telomere protecting) factors are within your control and they are not an expensive wrinkle cream or fad!
Blackburn notes that psychological habits such as training to focus your attention, avoiding habitual pessimism, and reducing stress (Yoga anyone? :) protects telomeres. Even socialization and cultivating a few close friendships can help! (Social/Group fitness with fun people anyone? :) Good sleep patterns and exercise (you already know what I'd say here ;), along with avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates also helps maintain telomere length. So let's Wade into Fitness together in 2017 and start the best known "fountain of youth, energy and vibrancy;" not just for January, not overdoing it, but creating sustainable real solutions to your fitness. Namaste.