Revealed: Exercise Positively Alters DNA

It is a well-known fact that exercise can induce fitness and decrease the risk of chronic illnesses as well as lifestyle diseases such as cardiac disorders and diabetes. But how much does a simple hike, run or bicycle ride translates into a healthier life has flummoxed health experts and scientists for a long time.

A recent research report believes that the answer lies in an individual’s DNA. According to the study, exercise is seen to alter and modify the shape and performance of our genes, which is a significant and ground breaking understanding of how fitness can further improve one’s health.

The human genome is astoundingly complicated, with genes incessantly charging up or going off, based on what biochemical indications are received from the body. When genes are switched on, they convey proteins that propel physiological reactions somewhere else in the body. Health researchers and analysts are aware that specific genes become vibrant or calm down as a result of exercise. But they have not yet comprehended how these genes know how to react to specific exercises.

This is where epigenetics comes in, which is a procedure by which the functioning of genes is modified, without causing any change in the DNA. Epigenetic modifications take place on the outer level of the gene, chiefly through a procedure known as methylation. Methylation is an action wherein groups of atoms, also known as methyl groups, bond themselves to the outer part of a gene and influence the gene to receive or react to specific biochemical indications from the body.

Scientists are aware that methylation actions get altered in reaction to one’s lifestyle. For instance, following diets or being susceptible to pollutants can induce modifications in methylation actions on some of the genes in our DNA and have an influence on what proteins those genes convey. Based on the kind of genes that are engaged, it is also likely to influence one’s health and risk for disorders.

Very little is known about the co-relation between methylation and exercise. Limited studies have revealed that just one course of exercise can result in instantaneous changes in the methylation approaches of specific genes in muscles. But whether long-run, steady, systematic exercise influences methylation, or how it does, has been obscure.

Hence a recent study published in the research paper– Epigenetics–researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, involved over 20 young and healthy people as participants for a series of physical performance and medical tests in laboratories, including muscle biopsies. These participants were then requested to undergo physical training only in half of their lower bodies for three months.

The participants engaged in one legged bicycling at a controlled stride for 40 minutes, three times a week for three months. The researchers then reprised the muscle biopsy and other medical tests with each participant. It was not surprising that the exercised leg was seen to be more powerful than the non-exercised leg, revealing that the exercise resulted in better physical enhancement.

But what was surprising, was the DNA in the muscle cells that intrigued scientists. With the help of advanced genomic examination, the scientists discovered that new methylation patterns were imprinted on more than 5000 sites on the genome of muscle cells from the exercised leg. In some cases more methyl groups were observed, in some lesser. But the revealing part was the significant changes found in the exercised leg as against the unexercised limb. Most genes played a huge role in the metabolism of energy, reaction towards insulin and muscle inflammation and effectively show how healthy and fit the exercised leg had become that was not seen in the unexercised leg.

This proves that scientists are now better able to comprehend and are one step closer to understanding the complex multifaceted procedures on why exercise is so beneficial for us.

Endurance training– a lifestyle application, easily available for almost every person without costing much — is highly beneficial in inducing positive changes in the body. Endurance exercises can positively affect how genes are used in the body and how muscles can become more functional and healthier which ultimately can enhance one’s quality of life.

Author: Harvs is a diet specialist. She spends her spare time writing articles on diet & fitness subjects. She is planning to write articles on healthy weight loss diet plans, such has HCG, Garcinia Cambogia and Green Coffee Extract etc., and the main motto of choosing these subjects is that, to bring awareness among weight loss seekers to achieve their weight loss goals on healthy note.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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