January 23, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

More Benefits of Exercise

Diet and exercise; we know we should do better. Here are more motivations to get up and work out.

Exercise is good for your skin (Phys.org). Everyone who is older than they were last year should perk up at news from Northeastern University: a protein activated by exercise has anti-aging effects.

The team found that low doses of a protein called interleukin 15 improved that capacity of skin to heal in old mice by mimicking some of the anti-aging benefits of exercise. In the human body, that protein is critical for the process of energizing all cells, and it is found in abundance in people who exercise more.

Exercise boosts memory like caffeine (Medical Xpress). You can hear Java Man responding to this headline, “Thanks, but I’ll just take the caffeine.” Actually, exercise does a better job at more than boosting memory, scientists at the University of Western Ontario found:

Brisk walks—even as short as 20 minutes—can provide your working memory just as much pep as that morning cup of coffee. In fact, that same recent study showed, that exercise may also reduce the negative effects of caffeine withdrawal like headaches, fatigue and crankiness.

Interesting that another article on Medical Xpress says that caffeine can be a tool for studying information processing. Australian scientists tested how adults with and without 250mg of caffeine performed on a decision game.

The researchers used electroencephalography to measure event-related potential components and explore sequential processing in the individuals with and without caffeine. The study produced a number of novel outcomes, showing caffeine to be a useful tool.

Why not get a little science done with your Morning Joe? Maybe carrying it with you on a brisk walk will give you double the benefit.

Fat cells can sense sunlight (Phys.org). Here’s another reason to get outdoors to exercise. Not getting enough sunlight increases metabolic syndrome risk,” reports a science team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Yes, fat cells deep under your skin can sense light. And when bodies do not get enough exposure to the right kinds of light, fat cells behave differently.

Sunlight actually gets deep under the skin of mammals, despite hair, fur and organs. Living in artificial light, and staying indoors too much, can affect health, the scientists say. In wintertime with shorter days and cold, it may be hard to get your prescribed dosage of natural daylight. If you can’t stay warm indoors, you may want to read about these findings.

Association between regular exercise and asthma control among adults: The population-based Northern Finnish Asthma Study (PLoS One). Adults with asthma have been told not to engage in vigorous exercise to avoid having a respiratory attack. This new study overturns that advice, saying that exercise actually can help those who suffer from asthma. “In conclusion, we provide evidence that moderate to high regular exercise improves asthma control among adults with asthma,” the team says. “Advice about regular exercise should be included as an important part of asthma management for adults.”

This makes sense; as a general principle, exercise stimulates healing of body systems. Our bodies were made for activity and do better when they are used. As usual, there are exceptions, and individuals should pursue the best medical advice. Notice here, however, that the experts appear to have been wrong.

Hope for Couch Potatoes

Exhortations to exercise often create guilt trips, so here’s something novel: the benefits of exercise in a pill – believe it or not!

A Replacement for Exercise? (University of Michigan): This surprise announcement says, “A protein called Sestrin might be responsible for many of the benefits of a good workout.”

Whether it be a brisk walk around the park or high intensity training at the gym, exercise does a body good. But what if you could harness the benefits of a good workout without ever moving a muscle? Michigan Medicine researchers studying a class of naturally occurring protein called Sestrin have found that it can mimic many of exercise’s effects in flies and mice. The findings could eventually help scientists combat muscle wasting due to aging and other causes.

Chuck-in-the-Box keeps popping up uninvited.

You can read the details in their open-access paper in Nature Communications, “Sestrins are evolutionarily conserved mediators of exercise benefits.” But if that were really true, evolution would make everyone like sloths, eating sestrin all day. Most likely this will have a downside, like anabolic steroids which were touted to build muscle, but caused other problems.

Can this San Diego startup mimic exercise and fasting with a pill? (Medical Xpress). A company called Empirium Bio is taking this concept of “exercise in a pill” seriously enough to invest $85 million in it. The article doesn’t mention sestrin, but it may be a stock to watch.

The company, called Epirium Bio, says its scientists have discovered a new human hormone, which, when influenced, can trigger the production of more mitochondria. The depletion of the body’s mitochondria—a.k.a. “engines” of cells—is at the core of many age-related human illnesses.

Speaking of mitochondria, Harvard has produced a series of videos on cell machines, one of which shows the inner details of mitochondria and the machines involved in the Electron Transport Chain – including an intelligent design favorite, ATP synthase. This is the machinery that gives you the energy to exercise.

Watch the video to be dazzled with the levels of intelligent design in our cells. How Harvard scientists can say this machinery evolved is one of the great mysteries in human nature.

 

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