How can exercise benefit your genes?

dna, epigenome, exercise, genes, heart disease, inflammation, obesity, Olumia Life

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Exercise and genes may not be an immediate pairing when you think of how to get healthy. However, it’s a fact that exercise and good lifestyle decisions can truly cause changes at a genetic level. Rather than somehow “form” new genes, though, it’s more like we have the ability to turn them on and off via the epigenome. A new study has even shown that exercise can affect genes in order to raise metabolism and lower the risk of obesity, diabetes and more.

Epigenetics: When exercise, diet and rest meet genes

Numerous studies have shown the link between exercise, diet, etc., and our genes. One study from the 2008 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that 3 months of healthy eating and exercise affected 500 different genes. Of this number, the genes that could cause disease were more frequently turned off while disease-preventing genes were more often expressed (turned on). Our habits in fitness, nutrition and even sleep really do have a strong effect on our genes.

As Dr. Steven Willey, Olumia Life Chief Scientist, puts it, “Eating fruits and vegetables can dampen the potentially negative effects of a gene associated with heart disease. Even a week of sleep deprivation altered the activity of over 700 genes, including those associated with obesity and heart disease, for the worse.”

A new study, conducted by researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet and published in the journal Epigenetics, looked at how long-term cardio exercise influenced genes, and what those genes did as a result. Twenty-three young men and women in good physical condition performed 45 minutes of cycling with one leg. The other leg wasn’t used to leave a control. After 3 months of performing the exercise 4 times a week, scientists found the endurance training affected about 4000 genes. These included genes that increased the adaptation of muscle, improved the metabolism and helped reduce inflammation.

According to Professor Carl Johan Sundberg, the Principal Investigator in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Karolinska, “This could be of great importance for the understanding and treatment of many common diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but also for how to maintain a good muscle function throughout life.”

Taking advantage of the science

Knowing how we can use our understanding of the epigenome to improve health is one thing, but doing it is another. The Olumia Life system focuses on Fitness, Nutrition and Sleep, each an important way of promoting healthy gene expression. While the latest study found improvements in genes through exercise, other studies have shown the importance of diet and rest in the equation as well.

Eating right, like a higher-protein diet or a Mediterranean one, is much easier when you have a plan. The Olumia Life Nutritional Ratio offers a practical means of making this happen while the Olumia Life app can get you the right recipes and menu choices hassle-free. When it comes to exercise, you need a lot more than cycling one leg to help your genes. Coordinating a customized order, progression and type of workout each session is easy with Olumia Life and tracking progress is a great way to stick with it. Sleep, too, is an important part of your health. Olumia Life helps repay sleep debt and get the most out of your time in bed.

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