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Exercise Can Bring About Changes in DNA

The human body is programmed to exercise. Exercise stimulates several enzymes concerned with aerobic metabolism. Lazy muscles tend to waste away while active muscles continue to remain strong and are efficient in the burning of fuels. Recent studies indicate that exercise can also influence the chemical composition of DNA although these changes are temporary.

For many people, exercise is a way of life. For some others, it is sheer punishment. It is the latter group which is responsible for the spurt in obesity seen throughout the world. Exercise offers several benefits.

  • Exercise provides a sense of well being and increases the confidence level in an individual.
  • Exercise helps to maintain normal weight and therefore, prevents obesity and other lifestyle diseases.
  • Exercise also prevents the onset of several diseases including diabetes, heart disease and dementia.
  • Increased physical activity can counter depression by increasing the secretion of mood elevating chemicals like endorphins, serotonin and norepinephrine.
  • Being active also increases the circulating levels of HDL. This, in turn, prevents heart disease and increases the antioxidant capacity in the body.
  • Exercise can also prevent infections by stimulating the immune system.
  • Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise can tone up the functioning of the cardiac and respiratory systems.

Methylation is Affected

Recent studies indicate that exercise can bring about changes in DNA. These changes are purely temporary and do not change the genetic makeup of an individual. DNA contains methyl groups. The introduction of the methyl group is called methylation. Methylation may be altered during exercise so that the number of methyl groups in DNA changes.

Exercise Helps the Elderly as Well

Skeletal muscle accounts for nearly 50% of body weight. This percentage tends to reduce when people are inactive as people tend to lose muscle through wasting. However, body weight continues to increase as a result of fat accumulation. The ratio of fat to muscle is the key factor determining the health of an individual. When this ratio increases in the body, health problems start appearing.

Exercise Increases Enzyme Levels

The key enzymes in aerobic metabolism are succinate dehydrogenase and cytochrome  oxidase. The levels of these enzymes vary with the physical activity of individuals. Of course, the levels of these enzymes also decrease with age as the muscles start losing strength. Ageing also reduces muscle mass. However, even in the elderly, lean mass can be retained successfully through some form of exercise.

Methylation Promotes Fuel Burning

Inactive muscle tends to waste away. In contrast, active muscle continues to remain strong and is efficient in the burning of fuels like fat and carbohydrate. Changes in the number of methyl groups may bring about alterations in the transcription factors which can have profound influence on enzyme activities. It has been suggested that the muscle is able to oxidize increased amounts of fat and carbohydrate as a result of altered methylation. This is confirmed by the increase in the activities of the enzymes succinate dehydrogenase and cytochrome oxidase in muscle during exercise. Several studies indicate that the human body is programmed to exercise.

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Comments (1)

Exercises are essential part of healthy life. Thank you dear brother Satakopan. In your friendship.

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