Exercise: The True Panacea

by Adrian Ramirez

Exercise is good for you. This is common knowledge iterated throughout the world. It reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases, strengthens your muscles, reduces belly fat, and much more. But why exactly is exerting yourself beneficial? This post will explain what is occurring within your body on the microscopic level through discussing recent scientific findings. Through such I aim to educate you as to how and why exercise is beneficial for your body.

Before we begin let us discuss what occurs in your body when constant physical activity is absent. In Pedersen’s 2011 article,“Exercise-induced myokines and their role in chronic diseases”, the side effects of physical inactivity are elaborated in vivid detail. In animal and human studies where physical inactivity was the independent variable, most subjects [in their respective study] experienced type II diabetes, memory depreciation, cardiovascular disease, cognitive deprecation, and cancer. The reason for all of these is due to the fact that the subject’s adipose tissue was greater due to inactivity. Adipose tissue is deep visceral fat. These tissues release hormones such as leptin, estrogen, resistin, and the cytokine TNFα. Because an excess amount of adipose tissue exists, your body experiences constant systematic inflammation. This inflammation exerts constant stress on several organs within the body. Such stress is the root of most diseases and is easily visualized in the following graphic. Chronic inflammation is a contributor to insulin resistance due to the excessive amount of adipose tissue. Insulin resistance is a direct cause of type ii diabetes. Having an excess amount of adipose tissue releasing hormones can disrupt the hormonal balance within the body. As such hormones that affect mood and behavior such as estrogen (previously stated to be released by adipose tissue) could possibly be a secondary cause of depression. Adipose tissue was stated to release TNFα. This hormone is known to have a direct relationship with cancer.

As inflammation and diseases accumulate due to physical inactivity, it becomes harder for individuals to be physically active. This results in a vicious cycle detrimental to your own health.

The reason why physical activity is beneficial is because of a current hypothesis that is being proposed by several researchers. When you exercise your muscles releases hormones known as myokine. These myokine are known to have anti-inflammatory effects caused by adipose tissue. One of the most studied myokine is IL-6, which increases 100 fold when muscles contract. Myokine IL-15 reduces fat mass and increases muscle growth. Myokine SPARC reduces adipose tissue while BDNF increases AMPK which in turn increases Fat oxidation. In essence through exercise your body is capable of ending the vicious cycle previously discussed, but only if you exercise!

References:

Pedersen, Bente K. “Exercise-induced Myokines and Their Role in Chronic Diseases.” Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 25.5 (2011): 811–16. Web.

So, Byunghun, Hee-Jae Kim, Jinsoo Kim, and Wook Song. “Exercise-induced Myokines in Health and Metabolic Diseases.” Integrative Medicine Research 3.4 (2014): 172–79. Web.

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