The benefits of an active lifestyle and regular physical exercise go beyond improving our figure, health and calming the mind. Exercise can improve our cell function at the DNA level by changing epigenetic marks. Exercise and epigenetics are closely related. Physical activity changes our epigenome in a way that is beneficial to our happiness and longevity. Changes can even be Reflect the type of exercise, the length of time and the interval between exercises.
But don’t be discouraged because you think that only high-intensity exercise will have an impact. Starting from the epigenome, even walking nearby or jogging in the park, even if you hear your favorite song and dance for a while, can start to improve your health. Here, we will further explore some known epigenetic changes and how our bodies can benefit from them.
Exercise can reduce the risk of illness, improve our mood and mental state, as well as improve sleep and endurance, to name a few. In addition, exercise can induce brain changes, thereby improving our cognitive abilities, and may achieve the effect of protecting nerves. Exercise can also help our cells maintain a healthy physiological age, make our cells "younger" and reduce the risk of many diseases.
Some interesting studies indicate that exercise induces specific epigenetic changes in muscle cells, and some methyl tags are added or removed in the DNA of the whole cell, especially those related to energy maintenance, metabolism, inflammation, and insulin response. . These changes were discovered by volunteers who exercised with only one foot for 3 months and then compared the epigenetic samples between exercised and non-exercised legs. The difference was significant and only in the cells of the trained leg. Observed changes in.
These endurance exercises will induce changes in the epigenome of our cells, leading to more efficient and healthier muscles. What this study has not yet clarified is whether epigenetic changes are maintained once exercise is stopped.
In the latest study published in the journal Nature, researchers from Stanford University and the University of Copenhagen explored the impact of lifelong exercise on our epigenome. They recruited two groups of elderly people with an average age of 62. They are divided into groups according to their life-long exercise habits. There are 8 people in the sedentary group and the regular exercise group respectively.
They observed that an active lifestyle leads to epigenetic changes in gene-related areas related to various homeostatic and regulatory processes in our body. Compared with people in the sedentary group, the skeletal muscle cells of life-long exercise participants The epigenome shows different methylation signatures. Changes in methylation patterns occur in genes involved in insulin regulation, muscle regeneration, oxidation, and glucose metabolism. These findings let us know that exercise can regulate our health through epigenetic changes. It is currently unclear whether these changes are stored as default memories of our epigenome. If so, whether these memories continue to maintain muscle function and condition after prolonged periods of inactivity. On the contrary, they seem to ensure that our bodies can adapt to the requirements of active life and are properly adjusted to improve our performance in endurance sports, which allows us to improve our response to exercise by having the most suitable and beneficial physical conditions. .
But facts have proved that exercise is not only beneficial to skeletal muscle cells, but also to many other bodily functions, and can even prevent many diseases. Aerobic exercise is associated with epigenetic changes that are beneficial to the cardiovascular system, such as changes in the level of microRNA production. In a study of 23 healthy men before and after exercise for six months, these microRNA changes showed that high blood pressure can be prevented, and even the problem of high blood pressure can be reversed. Other studies have shown that aerobic exercise has a preventive and protective effect on metabolic diseases (such as type 2 diabetes).
Sporadic exercise habits increase mitochondrial functioning, thereby increasing the efficiency of oxygen consumption and increasing energy production for a longer period of time. Aerobic exercise has been shown to improve cognitive performance. Long-term maintenance of aerobic exercise has been shown to enhance genes related to memory ability through epigenetics and promote neuroplasticity. Aerobic exercise can also help reduce anxiety and stress responses, especially if you train for several months. Similarly, anaerobic exercises such as yoga have also been shown to help improve our mood.
Without an active lifestyle and long-term inactivity, it will have a negative impact on our health. Our metabolism is disrupted, leading to changes in the epigenetic environment. This means that when we continue to be inactive, our internal processes cannot work effectively, which increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, or stroke. A sedentary lifestyle has been proven to be harmful to our body; it leads to mitochondrial dysfunction, DNA changes and cell inefficiency. It has been proven that inactivity and unhealthy diet are powerful predictors of high morbidity and mortality.
Of course, exercise is of immeasurable value to our overall health. The degree and duration of epigenetic changes are still unclear. Therefore, we have more reasons to become active and start active life and exercise. Ultimately, exercise will lead to important biology. Adaptation and physiological performance, partly induced by epigenetic processes, ensure that we stay healthy.
Exercise can benefit our mental state, physique and internal regulation, and it is irrefutable that the epigenome plays a central role in achieving these changes. Therefore, it should be recommended to explore our personal response to exercise, test which exercises we benefit the most and which exercise styles make us feel the best. There is no better time than spring to improve our lives from the epigenome.