We all know just how amazing working out is for getting an energy boost, building muscle, improving your mood, and revving your metabolism. But just how much can movement change your physical health for the better? According to a new study, exercise alters your body entirely — including your DNA.
Researchers conducted a small-scale experiment where they had eight participants take part in 60-minute spin classes five days a week for six weeks. They took biopsies of their skeletal muscle tissue at the start of their trial and at the end to compare how the DNA looked before and after regular exercise was added.
Publishing their findings in Molecular Metabolism, the scientists found that on a molecular level, exercise completely transformed how genes modeled themselves within DNA, making those cells more resilient and less prone to disease in the process. It’s a switch that can help your body fight against problems in the future, increasing your longevity and quality of life. This also explains why we see so many other purported health benefits of exercise, including reduced inflammation, lowered risks of diabetes and heart disease, and greater bone density. In other words, working out really changes your body from the ground up!
Scientists say that the study is only the beginning of more research given the small sample size, but they believe it shows how much exercising habitually can actually make a difference in terms of life outcomes. Moreover, previous studies show that you don’t necessarily need to do an intense cardio workout for an hour five times a week to see results; even moving around the house as you do chores can give your fitness level — and therefore your health — a boost.
The next time you’re thinking about skipping that daily walk or that trip to the gym, hopefully this is the motivation to get going anyway!