Can exercise change your DNA?
Maybe exercise can’t change your genes, but exercise has recently been shown to change how those genes operate. Here’s an excerpt from a recent NYTimes article entitled ‘How Exercise Changes Fat and Muscle Cells.’ This is some fascinating research on how diet and exercise affect your body composition and how your genes are expressed. Click here for the full article.
“One powerful means of affecting gene activity involves a process called methylation, in which methyl groups, a cluster of carbon and hydrogen atoms, attach to the outside of a gene and make it easier or harder for that gene to receive and respond to messages from the body. In this way, the behavior of the gene is changed, but not the fundamental structure of the gene itself. Remarkably, these methylation patterns can be passed on to offspring – a phenomenon known as epigenetics.
What is particularly fascinating about the methylation process is that it seems to be driven largely by how you live your life. Many recent studies have found that diet, for instance, notably affects the methylation of genes, and scientists working in this area suspect that differing genetic methylation patterns resulting from differing diets may partly determine whether someone develops diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
But the role of physical activity in gene methylation has been poorly understood, even though exercise, like diet, greatly changes the body. So several groups of scientists recently set out to determine what working out does to the exterior of our genes.
The answer, their recently published results show, is plenty.”
The article concludes with the following: “But already it is clear, Dr. Ling says, that these new findings “are additional proof of the robust effect exercise can have on the human body, even at the level of our DNA.””
Fascinating! We all have the power to influence how our DNA is expressed?!? No excuses!!