We all have those days when exercise is the last thing we feel like doing. For me, it’s usually after a night of kid-interrupted sleep, when the alarm goes off and I just want to hit the snooze button instead of get out of bed. Then I think about how I’ll feel when I’m done, and that’s what motivates me to get up and get moving. Like I’ve said before, it’s a decision I never regret.
There are immediate benefits to a good workout that you probably notice: more energy, less stress, a sense of accomplishment, etc. There are also good things happening in your body that you wouldn’t notice right away, but are just as important. A short 20-minute workout can have a positive impact on your genes, according to new research.
The study examined genes in the muscles of men and women before and after they spent 20 minutes exercising. Researchers found that the chemical changes after exercise increased the expression of these genes, which in effect turned them on. They were also able to replicate these results in a laboratory setting (using muscle cells). According to the study, “these changes appear to happen soon after exercise, which ultimately reprograms our cells for stronger muscles and greater endurance.”
Ever wonder if your daily cup of coffee is helping or hindering your fitness program? “When the researchers exposed muscle cells from rats to caffeine, they saw changes in genes that were similar to those seen during exercise. In some ways, caffeine mimics the effect of exercise by causing an increasing in calcium levels inside cells, the researchers said.” However, this doesn’t mean you can stop exercising or should start ordering the extra-large coffee instead of your usual small. Check out SparkPeople’s Healthy Beverage Guidelines for more information.
This study is one more example of how short workouts can provide lots of health benefits. Don’t feel like you have to spend hours at the gym in order to see results. I don’t have the time or the energy to do long workouts like I used to. But I find that if I can start most days with 20-30 minutes of activity, I’m getting the day started on the right foot.
Looking for ways to squeeze exercise into your busy day? Find out how to Sneak It In and Tone It Up.
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