The numerous benefits of exercise are well known throughout the general public and health conscious individuals alike, but new research reveals just how impacting exercise can be on your body. In addition to slashing your cancer and heart disease risk dramatically, exercise has been found to actually change your DNA — in as little as a few minutes.
Research reported in the March issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, shows that you can alter your DNA simply by taking the initiative to perform simple exercise. Scientists conducting the study revealed that healthy but inactive men and women who exercised for only a matter of minutes produced immediate changes to their very DNA. Examining the effects of exercise and caffeine, they also found that caffeine in your morning coffee can have similar effects.
Although the underlying genetic code in human muscle does not change as a result, exercise stimulates significant structural and chemical changes to the DNA molecules within the muscles. These modifications to the DNA at specific areas are thought to be the early events leading to the genetic reprogramming of the muscle for enhanced strength, in addition to the metabolic benefits of exercise.
According to Science Daily:
“The DNA changes in question are known as epigenetic modifications and involve the gain or loss of chemical marks on DNA over and above the familiar sequence of As, Gs, Ts, and Cs. The new study shows that the DNA within skeletal muscle taken from people after a burst of exercise bears fewer chemical marks (specifically methyl groups) than it did before exercise … Broadly speaking, the findings offer more evidence that our genomes are much more dynamic than they are often given credit for.”
This process, known as demethylation, paves the way for genes to more easily make proteins. The end result of this process is the creation of proteins involved in the breakdown of fat.
The benefits of exercise are still being routinely discovered by the scientific community, impressing health experts more and more as the importance of exercise is continually highlighted by scientific research and analysis. To maximize the benefits of healthy exercising, try high intensity interval training (HIIT).