A good friend of mine pointed me to what’s turned out to be a very successful strength training program about a year back. However, when I first checked out the website, this image was the first thing I saw. I kid you not. I don’t want to work for the circus, maybe just get in better shape. Luckily, those results apparently aren’t typical. Or I’m not doing it right. Who knows.
In any case, building up muscles or endurance isn’t the only thing that comes from exercise. As we learn from an article published recently in Cell Metabolism, it stimulates changes all the way down to our DNA.
We can all guess, I’m sure, that exercise induces an array of responses within the body. Your body has to rebalance, recover, and hopefully rebuild for the better. It’s a safe assumption that some genes are being turned off and on to regulate all these responses. A team led by Dr. Juleen R. Zierath at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm wanted to learn more about how this was going on.
This team looked at small muscle samples from individuals before and after a period of exercise on the stationary bike. Their investigation centered around a certain structural change in the DNA that can cause genes to be turned ‘on’ or ‘off.’
What they found was quite interesting, although not unexpected. Their work shows that the DNA around a certain group of genes involved in energy metabolism had indeed been altered. Essentially, in response to the workout, the body turned these genes on. Considering their involvement in energy metabolism, this of course makes perfect sense.
However, the compelling point is that these DNA modifications weren’t thought to happen after a cell matures. This, and other, work now indicates that the body is able to alter its DNA in a much more dynamic fashion. That makes this a much more interesting avenue of research – a new way for the body to respond to a variety of stimuli. Only time will reveal all the physiological processes influenced by this – whether it be associated diseases, metabolic problems, or just explaining why I can’t ride a bike as far as Lance Armstrong.
Thanks & Gig ‘Em.