You might age faster if you sit too much, a new study warns.

Researchers who studied nearly 1,500 older women found those who sat most of the day and got little exercise had cells that were biologically older by eight years than the women’s actual age.

“Our study found cells age faster with a sedentary lifestyle. Chronological age doesn’t always match biological age,” said lead author Aladdin Shadyab from the University of California, San Diego’s School of Medicine.

The women, ages 64 to 95, answered questionnaires and wore a device for seven days to track their activity levels.

Researchers found that women who sat for more than 10 hours a day and got less than 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily had shorter telomeres, these are caps on the end of DNA strands that protect chromosomes from deterioration.

Telomeres naturally shorten with age, but health and lifestyle factors, such as smoking and obesity, can accelerate the process. Shortened telomeres are linked with heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

To learn more ways to get exercise, to care for your body, mind and spirit take a look at other articles on the SelfCare for HealthCare™ blog. SelfCare for HealthCare provides care for nurses and caretakers.