According to an article featured by the NY Times, there are two numbers that are especially symbolic of what science needed to tell us this year about fitness.
The first represents the extent by which people’s risk for early death increases by 42% if they’re out of shape. According to a study published in July in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the extent by which a person’s risk for premature death increases if they are out of shape. That number just about equals the risk of early death associated with heavy smoking.
The next figure, $2,500, is the amount of money that most of us could probably save each year on medical costs related to heart disease if we walked for 30 minutes a day, several days a week.
To put it more simply, exercise science this year tells us that being inactive could potentially cost us several thousands of dollars as well shorten our lifespans.
There were other lessons to be learned as well. Some of the more fascinating is how our bodies may be changed by exercise both extensively and invisibly.
In a February study published by Cell Metabolism, for example, scientists used mice with a high risk of developing melanoma to determine how exercise might alter their health. When the mice ran in moderation on wheels, their immune systems shifted in ways that enabled them to fight the cancer. The more active mice created more of a type of immune cell known to fight malignancies than the more sedentary mice did and became less inclined to develop invasive disease.
In other research this year, exercise also was shown to help muscles to release substances that end up altering the architecture and function of the brain. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health isolated a protein created amply in muscles during exercise. Then they introduced the protein to neurons in Petri dishes and found the cells began creating other substances, which will help create additional neurons. Working the body’s muscles, in effect, altered brain cells to increase neuron levels.
Fat cells were also modified by exercise. Researchers from the University of Florida injected a hormone created both during and following exercise into regular human fat cells. These cells consisted of white fat, which burn very few calories. After exposure to the exercise-related hormone, several of the white fat cells started to indicate molecular markers signaling that they were becoming brown. Brown fat is considered to burns off more calories.
Exercise might possibly change the makeup of gut microbes in manners that could help in weight control, according to another study, which was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. In that study, young rats were permitted to eat all they desired while additionally either running or staying largely sedentary throughout their adolescence. Other rats followed a low-calorie diet but didn’t exercise.
By maturity, the inactive rats with out diet restrictions were overweight. But those on a diet and the ones who ran were comparatively thinner. Additionally, the runners had developed the populations of gut microbes that are linked to lifelong leanness.
Not all of the news regarding exercise this year was great. A study produced by health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield, reported that young people who’d received just one concussion were far more likely than those who had never had a head injury to underperform in school and, experience lingering mental as well as physical issues as adults.
Another study done this year found that discontinuing exercise, even for as few as 10 days, altered the amount of blood that flowed to volunteers’ brains. In that study, longtime runners received brain scans and then stopped working out for 10 days. Another scan done after 10 days indicated that they were pumping less blood to their brains, particularly the parts of the brain related to memory and learning.
The most important thing to note here is that in order to continually reap all the benefits of exercise, we need to exercise regularly and make it a priority for the rest of our lives.
The advantages of being active do appear to be boundless. The studies we’ve highlighted here indicate that just about any type of exercise can significantly lower the risks of depression, muscle wasting, and many types of cancer, not to mention the common cold.
Lets get moving in 2017 and reap the rewards of better health, longer lives and saving some money!
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