Better molecular levels through workout
You don’t have to do high-impact workouts to keep your body healthy. The workout is good for you, this we know. It helps build muscle, burn fat and make us all into happier, healthier people.
But long before you start looking the way you want, there are other hidden, more immediate, molecular and immunological changes taking place inside your cells. Changes that could be responsible for protecting us from heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes – and even stave off old age and cancer.
You may think that “molecular” changes may not be that much of a big deal. Surely it is fat loss and muscle gain that are the best outcomes of workout? Actually, molecular changes affect the way genes and proteins are controlled inside cells.
Genes can become more or less active, while proteins can be rapidly modified to function differently and carry out tasks such as moving glucose into cells more efficiently or protect cells from harmful toxins.
Workout reduces the risk of diabetes
Type 2 diabetes causes all kinds of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage, and may lead to limb amputation.
The underlying cause is the development of a heightened inflammatory state in the body’s tissue and cells. This damages cells and can eventually lead to insulin resistance and, ultimately, type 2 diabetes.
The main risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, a poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle. However, we have found that even low-intensity workouts, such as brisk walking, can increase the body’s insulin sensitivity. This means that people at risk of developing diabetes become less prone because they are able to metabolize glucose more efficiently through a workout.
In a study were questioned 20 sedentary people who were at risk of developing diabetes to walk briskly for 45 minutes, three times a week, for eight weeks. Although there was no change in their weight, blood pressure or cholesterol level, on average each participant lost a significant six centimeters from their waist circumference. And, more importantly, there was a reduction in their diabetic risk.
Workout – The cellular fountain of youth
Intense interval workouts seem to boost older cells, even reversing some of the aging’s effects, study finds. High-intensity workouts may help older adults reverse certain aspects of the “cellular” aging process, a new study suggests.
It’s no secret that regular workout is healthy for young and old alike. But researchers said the new findings point to particular benefits from high-intensity interval training workouts for older adults.
That’s the type of workout that combines brief bursts of vigorous exercise with periods of moderate activity: A person might, for example, go all-out on a stationary bike for a few minutes, ease up for the next few, and then start again.
In this study, older adults who performed that type of exercise showed greater changes at the cellular level, compared to those who worked out more moderately.
Specifically, interval training workouts gave a bigger boost to mitochondrial function in the muscle. Mitochondria are the “powerhouses” within body cells that break down nutrients to be used for energy. The workout also revved up activity in more genes related to mitochondrial function and muscle growth.
What does it all mean?
The study findings suggest that interval training workout can turn back the clock in ways that moderate aerobic workout and strength training do not. But, the findings do not mean older adults should jump into a vigorous exercise regimen.
Interestingly, there were also exercise-induced changes in the participant’s monocytes – an important immune cell that circulates in the bloodstream. This led to a reduction in the body’s inflammatory state, one of the main risks for type 2 diabetes.
When our body is under attack from foreign invaders such as microbes, immune cells such as monocytes change into “microbe-eating” macrophages. Their main function is to fight infection in our tissues and lungs. There are two main types of macrophages, M1 and M2. M1 macrophages are associated with pro-inflammatory responses and are necessary for aggressively fighting off infections.
However, in obese people who do not exercise, these cells become active even in the absence of infection. This can lead to an unwanted, heightened inflammatory condition which may “trigger” diabetes.
On the other hand, M2 macrophages play a role in “switching-off” inflammation and are instrumental in “damping down” the more aggressive M1s. So a healthy balance of M1 and M2 macrophages is crucial to maintaining an optimal immune response to fighting infections – and it may help prevent the heightened inflammatory condition which comes from the lack of workout and obesity too.
If you’re sedentary, you should talk to your doctor before you start working out. The first step to a good workout is to start with walking and build yourself up to a fast pace. For older adults who want to progress to a more intense regimen, it’s best to start with supervision. But he also stressed that intense workout is not a must. Any regular exercise will bring health benefits – absolutely.
This study demonstrated that even though interval training workout had the biggest effects on aspects of cellular aging, other types of exercise boosted older adults’ fitness levels and muscle strength.
In this study we present you, one group did high-intensity interval training workouts three days a week: They pedaled on an exercise bike at their maximum speed for 4 minutes, before easing up for 3 minutes; they repeated that process four times. They also worked out more moderately – walking on a treadmill – twice a week.
A second group performed a moderate aerobic exercise – using an exercise bike at a less-intense pace – five days a week, for 30 minutes. They also did some light strength training four days a week.
The third group performed strengthening exercises only, two days a week.
After 12 weeks, all of the groups were showing positive changes – younger and older exercisers alike, the researchers found.
People who performed moderate aerobic exercise boosted their fitness levels – the body’s ability to supply blood and oxygen to working muscles. And the improvement was greater for older adults, who generally started out with lower fitness levels than younger people.
Meanwhile, people who performed strength-training – alone or with aerobic exercise – increased their muscle strength.
The interval-training group showed only small gains in strength. But the training improved mitochondrial function in the muscles, especially among older adults.
This is a great study that demonstrates the benefits of different forms of workout. It adds to other evidence that high-intensity interval training is probably the best form of exercise.
Many studies have found that interval training beats moderate aerobic exercise when it comes to improving fitness and the heart’s structure and function.
It would be ideal to get more people to do high-intensity interval training, and it’s possible for more motivated individuals.
But the reality is, many people may not have the motivation or ability. In that case, doctors advised finding a moderate regimen you can live with – such as 30 to 40 minutes of walking or using an exercise bike or elliptical machine most days of the week.
Immune system with a proper workout
Other studies have also shown that workout has a beneficial impact on tissues’ immune cell function and can reduce unnecessary inflammation. Exercise training in obese individuals has been found to reduce the level of tissue inflammation specifically because there are fewer macrophage cells present in fat tissue.
In addition, researchers have found a significant link between exercise and the balance of M1 and M2 macrophages. It has been shown that acute exercise in obese rats resulted in a shift from the “aggressive” M1 macrophages to the more “passive” M2 and that this reduction in the inflammatory state correlated with an improvement in insulin resistance.
Time to workout
There is no definitive answer as to how much and what intensity of the workout is necessary to protect us from diabetes. Though some researchers have shown that while higher-intensity exercise improves overall fitness, there is little difference between high and low-intensity exercise in improving insulin sensitivity.
However, this new study has found that all forms of aerobic exercise – in particular, high-intensity interval training such as cycling and running – can effectively stop aging at the cellular level. The exercise caused cells to make more proteins for their energy-producing mitochondria and their protein-building ribosomes.
Researchers also observed that “molecular” changes which occur at the gene and protein levels happened very quickly after exercise and that the effects prevented damage to important proteins in the cells and improve the way in which insulin functions.
Although you might not see the changes you want immediately, even gentle exercise can make a big difference to the way the body’s cells behave. This means that workout could have far-reaching health benefits for other inflammatory associated diseases and possibly protect us against aging and cancer too.