Exercise Can Actually Affect Your Genes for the Better

Illustration for article titled Exercise Can Actually Affect Your Genes for the Better

Alright, you guys. Time to sit down and talk SCIENCE. As someone who took AP Biology and AP Chemistry in high school and only cried once a week in class, I am up on my science game. I once made a replica of a cell entirely out of soap and the whole thing weighed about 7 lbs. But enough about me and my many scientific credentials. We're here to talk about cells, and in particular, the cells we loathe the most — fat cells.

In every cell, fat cells included, there are genes that turn on and off depending on what signals they receive from inside of your body. When they turn on, they release proteins that cause any number of results in your body. One thing that affects the way your genes express themselves is a process called methylation. Instead of coming up with weird ways to explain what happens in this process, just trust me (and my 5 on my AP Bio exam) when I say that it makes it harder for genes to receive or respond to messages from your body. When it comes to genes in fat cells, methylation can have an affect on genes that cause obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

New studies have found that regular exercise, and sometimes even one workout, can have a "profound effect" on the methylation process. In normal person speak, this means that working out could reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes,which is linked more to genetics than Type 1 diabetes, and obesity traits that may have been inherited. Bottom line: exercise is good for you. I wonder if aimlessly scrolling through Instagram will have a profound effect on my genes somehow, too?


[NY Times]

Image via Getty.

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Can I brag, just a little? I got some good news this week, but it's not the sort you can tell your friends or coworkers. I had a physical the other day, and found out that I have officially crossed the borderline from "obese" (according to the BMI chart) to "overweight". The doctor even said my weight wasn't a concern at this point. I'm no model by any means, but it's been a long struggle to get healthy, and it feel so good to say it. Thanks, myfitnesspal and swimming!