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Exercise Rewires DNA

Studies show that regular exercise reduces risk for a host of chronic diseases. But how does it do that? The answer may lie in our DNA.

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We all know that exercise is good for us. Assuming we don’t overdo it to a point that stresses us out, exercise improves mood, promotes restful sleep, reduces stress, enhances energy, helps manage weight, and lowers risks for all the major diseases, from type 2 diabetes and heart disease to Alzheimer’s and cancer. So, how does it do all this? It turns out that exercise rewires some of our DNA in a way that protects against disease, according to a study of healthy men in Denmark.

Researchers put participants through a six-week endurance exercise program and analyzed changes in DNA, using before-and-after muscle biopsies. They found that exercise influences “enhancers,” sections of DNA that determine which genes are turned on or off. And it turns off disease-promoting genes. Are you pumped up, yet?

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