Mystery Revealed: How Exercise Really Works

After 10 minutes of treadmill jogging or stationary-bicycle riding, the healthy adults showed enormous changes in the metabolites within their bloodstream, as did the less-fit group, although to a lesser degree. In particular, certain metabolites associated with fat burning were elevated. The fit adults showed increases of almost 100 percent in many of these molecules. The less-fit group had increases in those same metabolites of about 50 percent. As for the marathoners, their blood contained up to 10 times more of the fat-burning markers.

These findings suggest that exercise has both “acute and cumulative” effects on your body’s ability to use and burn fat…

The researchers then took a number of the metabolites that had been elevated by exercise and infused them into mouse muscle cells in a laboratory dish. Almost immediately, the metabolites, in combination (but not individually) ignited a reaction that resulted in increased expression of a gene involved in cholesterol and blood-sugar regulation… The result implies that exercise has complicated, chain-reaction metabolic effects; activity causes actions within cells that release metabolites, which, in turn, act on genes in ways that change your blood levels of fatty acids and blood sugar. These levels of fatty acids and blood sugar then play a role in your risks for heart disease, diabetes and other conditions.

Full article on the molecular effects of exercise.

Comments (6)

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  1. Larry C. says:

    Thanks for clearing all that up. I think I’m gong to go have a cheeseberger and fries.

  2. Nancy says:

    I take this is more seriously than Larry does. It means that you need to keep on exercising regularly and not just do it occasionally.

  3. Devon Herrick says:

    The old saying “no pain, no gain” is apparently correct! The benefits of exercise experience increasing returns to scale. A little exercise may help but a lot of physical exertion really, really helps.

  4. Bruce says:

    Of course the down side of being a marathoner is that you have to have your hips and knees replaced by the time you are 50.

  5. Bart Ingles says:

    Where can I buy the metabolites?

  6. Virginia says:

    I agree with Bart. I’d rather buy these metabolites than “earn” them.

    There is an even easier way to describe what exercise does: It hurts, and it’s not fun. So, it must be good for you. (That’s very similar to: It doesn’t taste good, so it must be good for you.)