Can Exercise Magically Alter Our DNA?

Although the thought of our DNA changing through exercise sounds like an advanced magic act preformed within the body, it can be explained scientifically. A new study sheds some light on just how exercise translates into a more physically healthy body. Let’s just say the human genome knows how to preform one heck of a believable magic trick!

So what’s really happening here? Scientist have known for a long time that genes within the body are constantly changing, turning off and on, all dependent on what biochemical signals they receive. We now know, thanks to new research, that exercise changes the shape and functioning of our genes. We now have a better idea of how the genes respond to physical activity.

The study published recently in Epigenetics (changes occurring outside of the gene which changes their operation) proves that exercise creates new patterns of methylation. Methylation makes the gene more or less likely to respond to biochemical signals from the body by attaching clusters of atoms to the outside of the gene.

In the study, 23 men and women were recruited to exercise one leg by pedaling for 45 minutes, four times a week for three months. Each participant then had a muscle biopsy taken from both legs. The exercised leg showed the methylation changes, while the unexercised leg did not. These changes happened in the part of the genome called “enhancers” that can amplify the gene’s expression of proteins. These genes affect our muscle health.

So, while it’s easy to see the process of exercise altering your Dour as pure magic, there is scientific research that gives us a better understanding. Someone who is a strong believer in exercise is Susan McGalla. She explains more here in her article.

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