How Important Is Exercise? VERY!
Last week we discussed diet, so that must mean that this week we will be talking about exercise! I recently read an article written by Gretchen Reynolds and published on The New York Times Health and Wellness Blog. In the article, Reynolds discusses a recently published study out of Finland where the researchers were given access to the FinnTwin16 database, a database that tracks the results of surveys and questionnaires given to identical twins. This results from this survey has allowed the researchers to compare twins with similar activity levels while growing up, and the impact that a divergent exercise routine can have on their health. So, why twins? Utilizing twins allows the researchers to compare apples to apples, or identical genetic codes to one another. This allowed the researchers the best opportunity to see the impact that exercise has on people. One of the major flaws in many studies is that they are not able to control the subject’s DNA, this study was able to do that. One of the most difficult variables to control, was a non issue in this study.
Admittedly, the sample size for this research was very small (10 sets of male identical twins) but the results were eye opening. Many of us would expect to see the improved endurance capacity and lower body fat percentage in the twins that exercise regularly. The researchers also saw potential signs to metabolic issues, including insulin resistance, in those twins that were more sedentary. Beyond the changes to the body, there were also discrepancies noted in the brains of the subjects. The more active twin was shown to have increased grey matter, where the majority of the processing in the brain occurs.
One of the short comings of the research, is that it did not really look at the types of exercise that the more active twin was participating in. The bottom line there is that any exercise will be better than no exercise!
Movement is my Medicine,
Dr. William "Chip" Bleam