Over half of all Australian adults are not active enough -a big call for a nation made up of over 22 million inhabitants. A recent study from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm mapped the methylation pattern of sedentary or inactive participants who were exposed to a six month exercise regime.
Methylation involves a process where methyl groups (carbon and hydrogen atoms) attach to the outside of a gene and make it easier or harder for that gene to receive and respond to messages from the body, altering the behaviour of the gene without affecting the fundamental structure of the gene itself. These patterns can then be passed onto children, better known as epigenetics.
Scientists are also finding that there’s a link between the methylation process and lifestyle. In other words what you eat and your degree of physical activity could bridge a gap between you and metabolic diseases such as diabetes.
The Australian Department of Health recommends the average person to walk, swim or dance for 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activities a week. For the time poor and slightly more agile 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity will help you on the road to improved blood pressure, cholesterol, heart health as well as muscle and bone strength.
Better yet if you double the time spent working out you could benefit by potentially preventing cancer and unhealthy weight gain. And the proof is in the pudding with participants from the Karolinska Institute who took an hour-long spin class or aerobics class twice a week for six months – resulting in weight loss, increased endurance and improved blood pressure and cholesterol profiles.