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Researchers: Regular Exercise Changes Our DNA and Health

FILE - A bicyclist pedals along main street in Richford, Vermont.

Scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have proven that physical exercise changes not only our health, but also our DNA.

It has been known that certain diets or exposure to chemicals can change the way genes send and receive biochemical signals in the body, but nothing was known about the influence of exercise.

Swedish scientists asked 23 young, healthy men and women to exercise on stationary bikes with only one leg, several times a week for three months. Simple comparison of DNA taken from muscle cells in both legs showed considerable change in the more exercised leg.

Many of the changes involved genes connected with energy, insulin response and muscle inflammation, which directly affect fitness.

Scientists say this clearly shows that regular exercise gets noticed by our genes and eventually leads to improved health.

They say future studies would be focused on determining how long those changes last if someone quits exercising.