Exercise prompts changes right down to your DNA, study suggests

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Exercise instigates changes right down to your DNANoel Hendrickson – Getty Images

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  • A study published in Scientific reportsinvolving 70 pairs of twins, they found that while exercise can’t change your DNA or your genetic risk for disease, it can change how your body reads the DNA sequence, helping to reduce the risk of chronic conditions like metabolic disease — even while running. in family.

  • The researchers looked at both moderate and vigorous-intensity physical activity, and while both improved cellular function, vigorous exercise did so more.

Because exercise can have completely different effects on each individual, it’s difficult to generalize the benefits—unless you’ve got identical twins for your study.

New research in the journal Scientific reports examined how exercise affected 70 pairs of identical twins over seven years. Because the twins had the same genetics and environmental factors growing up, it was easier to determine how exercise plays a role in health risks, down to the molecular level. This is especially true because many twin pairs had different amounts of regular physical activity compared to others.

Those from twin pairs who were more active had lower signs of metabolic disease, such as excess body fat around the waist, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and elevated blood pressure. This means they have a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, a condition that can lead to stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

According to the study’s lead author, Michael Skinner, Ph.D., a biologist at Washington State University, part of the reason exercise improves metabolic health, according to the study’s lead author, Washington State University biologist physical activity creates epigenetic changes. He said Running world that epigenetics is defined as the molecular factors around DNA that regulate how genes are turned off and on. Basically, epigenetics determines how your body reads the DNA sequence.

Unlike DNA itself, which is immutable, epigenetic factors can be significantly altered by lifestyle. For example, previous research in Epigenomics the epigenetic patterns found can be altered by diet, tobacco use, environmental pollutants, night shift work and psychological stress. This research also mentions exercise, but a recent study was able to delve deeper into how far-reaching the changes can be with more physical activity.

“Because twins were used, it removed the genetic variable,” Skinner said. “We could see that environmental impacts, such as physical activity, act on individuals and change cellular functions through epigenetics.” So when a person exercises, they change their epigenetics and that changes their gene expression.”

The result is improved cellular function, he added. For example, the body may change where fat is stored or how blood pressure is regulated. Skinner said the research found that both moderate and vigorous physical activity affected epigenetics, but vigorous activity had a more dramatic and significant effect.

Takeaway food? Even if metabolic disease runs in your family, you can reduce your risk of developing diseases like heart disease or type 2 diabetes by focusing on lifestyles that increase your epigenetic strength. Making regular choices for vigorous activity won’t change your genes—but it can have a significant effect on how those genes work.

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