Exercise changes DNA
Article is here. And my thoughts are in blue.
Basically, someone did a study where they studied RNA and other genetic type stuff before and after exercise.
Using the biopsied samples, researchers compared the activity in a series of muscle-related genes before and after exercise. More genes were turned on in the cells taken after the exercise and the participants’ DNA showed less methylation, a molecular process in which chemicals called methyl groups settle on the DNA and limit the cell’s ability to access, or switch on, certain genes. By controlling how much methylation goes on in certain cells at specific times, the body regulates which genes in the DNA are activated — that’s what differentiates the development of an an eye cell, for example, from that of a liver cell. I just found this incredibly interesting but I'm kinda a geek like that.
Methylation also helps to prime muscle cells for a bout of exercise, getting them to pump out the right enzymes and nutrients the muscle needs to get energy and burn calories while you’re pounding the pavement during that mile-long jog. I wonder if there's a genetic predisposition to jogging. Why can some people run and some people just can't? And could this also explain why some people are just naturally faster than other people or why people from certain parts of the world seem to be faster than others (like why Kenyans always win the NY marathon?)?
To confirm the role of exercise on gene expression in muscle, the scientists then studied how calcium affected the entire system. When muscle cells start to gear up for intense activity like exercise, they release calcium, which fuels the contraction process. When the scientists blocked calcium production, the effect disappeared, and the muscles didn’t contract as much. This also explains why I've heard that you should drink milk right after workout and it helps with muscle recovery. It's all comin' together.
That’s when Zierath threw in some coffee — or more specifically, caffeine. Caffeine triggers the release of calcium, and can enhance the way methyl groups move aside to turn on the genes that help muscles contract. When she added caffeine to a lab dish containing cells from the leg muscles of rats, the muscle cells showed lower concentrations of methyl groups and more mRNA — a similar effect as seen after exercise — as she expected. And this explains the energy drinks at the gym...besides just needing it to get through your work out, it actually HELPS your workout.
But, says Zierath, that doesn’t mean you can skip the workout for a cup of coffee instead. “Most of the physiological effect of the caffeine we drink is on the central nervous system, and not dispersed to all the muscles,” she says. “In order to get the same kind of effect we saw in the cells, you would have to drink 50 cups of coffee a day. For anyone like me who figured maybe we could just drink coffee and get in shape. Alas...it doesn't work that way.
There was another article I stumbled across yesterday and the title alone was enough to draw my attention.
Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin
Article is here but it's more like a blog where they dig into different studies explaining why even if people exercise regularly, they won't necessarily lose weight.
Church's team randomly assigned into four groups 464 overweight women who didn't regularly exercise. Women in three of the groups were asked to work out with a personal trainer for 72 min., 136 min., and 194 min. per week, respectively, for six months. Women in the fourth cluster, the control group, were told to maintain their usual physical-activity routines. All the women were asked not to change their dietary habits and to fill out monthly medical-symptom questionnaires.
The findings were surprising. On average, the women in all the groups, even the control group, lost weight, but the women who exercised — sweating it out with a trainer several days a week for six months — did not lose significantly more weight than the control subjects did. (The control-group women may have lost weight because they were filling out those regular health forms, which may have prompted them to consume fewer doughnuts.) Some of the women in each of the four groups actually gained weight, some more than 10 lb. each. I think this is a testament to tracking. While I don't do it because it drives me insane, many of us are proof that merely writing down what we eat or being held accountable for weigh ins is enough to keep us doing what we're supposed to be doing or avoiding those extra little calories.
It's true that after six months of working out, most of the exercisers in Church's study were able to trim their waistlines slightly — by about an inch. Even so, they lost no more overall body fat than the control group did. Why not? The article goes into quite a bit of detail about how people tend to eat more after they exercise or justify little "treats" because they worked out. And there's something in the genetic make up that makes you want carbs over protein after you exercise.
According to calculations published in the journal Obesity Research by a Columbia University team in 2001, a pound of muscle burns approximately six calories a day in a resting body, compared with the two calories that a pound of fat burns. Which means that after you work out hard enough to convert, say, 10 lb. of fat to muscle — a major achievement — you would be able to eat only an extra 40 calories per day, about the amount in a teaspoon of butter, before beginning to gain weight. Good luck with that. How many of us use working out as an excuse or reason to quite a bit more later?
So does exercise suck? No. There are benefits of course.
In addition to enhancing heart health and helping prevent disease, exercise improves your mental health and cognitive ability. A study published in June in the journal Neurology found that older people who exercise at least once a week are 30% more likely to maintain cognitive function than those who exercise less. Another study, released by the University of Alberta a few weeks ago, found that people with chronic back pain who exercise four days a week have 36% less disability than those who exercise only two or three days a week.
For his part, Berthoud rises at 5 a.m. to walk around his neighborhood several times. He also takes the stairs when possible. "Even if people can get out of their offices, out from in front of their computers, they go someplace like the mall and then take the elevator," he says. "This is the real problem, not that we don't go to the gym enough." The article is like 4 pages long but I wanted to point this part out. Part of Mark Sisson's whole paleo theory is that caveman walked A LOT. They didn't do one hour a day of intense cardio. I think this is kind of what this guy is saying too. America used to be a lot more active without even trying. This country was built on manufacturing where people stood all day long. Farmers working in their field. No TV or internet for entertainment so you had to get out and DO something. My grandparents used to rollerdance (ballroom dancing on roller skates) and this is in the 50's after they had children. How many of you married folks with kids go out dancing? Do any of you even know WHERE you can go dancing that's not a club? I don't. And I've looked.
Anyway, I just found it kind of interesting. I think I'm definitely guilty of the second article, eating more when I work out. I think the band helped a little bit at the beginning when I was working out like a fiend because 1) I didn't get as hungry after a workout but 2) I didn't have to take in many fewer calories to lose weight. So there ya go. A little science lesson in the first one just to get you thinking with the left side of your brain. So my question to you:
Are you guilty of eating more or rewarding yourself with extra calories after you work out?